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Message from A.J. Baynes: October 2021

President/CEO A.J. Baynes
President/CEO A.J. Baynes

It gives me great pleasure to remind everyone that our biggest event of the year is BACK!!! Unfortunately, THE EVENT- Celebrating Business Excellence was postponed last year, but we are looking forward to an incredible night at Salvatore's Italian Garden on Monday, October 25.


With over 300 people already RSVP'd, you won't want to miss out; you can register for your tickets here. We have a diverse group of award winners who we couldn't be more proud of, Nick and Kendra Pitillo from Osteria 166, Rodriguez Construction, Viridi Parente, and Jon Williams, NOCO, Anne Constantino from Horizon Health, and our business of the year M&T Bank. These award winners have been pillars in our great community, they worked through the pandemic, and they have continued to make a meaningful contribution to Western New York during some of the most challenging times.


As we continue to prepare for our big night, the Chamber, just like your business, is heading into the final quarter of the year, trying to finish the year in the most favorable position possible. We continue to welcome new members and design our programming with you in mind. As we have always strived to work collaboratively with our fellow Chambers in the area, I am thrilled to announce a Co-Business Before Hours taking place October 21 at ConnectLife in conjunction with the Ken-Ton Chamber of Commerce and Boston-Colden Chamber of Commerce. Another example of an excellent working partnership is our relationship with The Buffalo News and Amplified. Last month, we hosted a Business After Hours event at The Buffalo News alongside their partners at Amplified. We had the unique opportunity to hear from publisher Tom Wiley and news editor Mike Connelly. Amplified has graciously offered to team up with The Chamber once again to provide professional experience in "Mastering your Digital Marketing." This Lunch and Learn event on October 27th is open to Chamber members and their guests as Amplified's experienced team will provide an array of practical, real-world uses in driving sales through digital marketing.


The Chamber prides itself on giving businesses more accessible opportunities to keep up with the evolving changes in regulations with NYS. That is why we are working with Lisa Coppola, and her talented team at The Coppola Firm and Jessica Frattali and her team at Employee Services Corporation to ensure your business is compliant with NYS and their Sexual Harassment Prevention training requirements. Be sure to visit the Chamber calendar page for additional events as we constantly add to our calendar.


Our employee benefits division, headed by Penny LaPlaca, is in full swing with health and dental insurance open enrollment. Our employee benefits division maintains the same commitment to exceptional customer service as our members are accustomed to, and I strongly encourage you if you're not currently receiving health insurance, you should reach out today. In addition, as mentioned in previous newsletters, we have expanded our services to include Life Insurance and an Employee Assistance Program through a partnership with Child and Family Services that we guarantee will be a value-add for your employee benefits package.


Later this week, we will be reaching out to Chamber members with an exciting new partnership with Daemen College and their graduate school. Daemen College and our Emerging Business Leader's board of directors are working on a professional development seminar that National Grid has graciously offered to sponsor will provide employers the opportunity to upskill employees in our ever-changing workplace. We are very excited to announce this program in the coming days formally, so please be on the lookout.


As a reminder, there is still time to purchase a $25 Shop 716 eGift Card and receive a matching $25 from Erie County through the American Rescue Plan. With nearly 800 locally owned businesses throughout Erie County accepting the Shop 716 eGift Card, you're sure to find your favorite restaurant or your favorite local retailer who would love to have your patronage. We have seen tremendous participation in this program already; nearly 15,000 e-gift cards have been sent out, and we hope to double that number before we are in full swing of the holiday season.


As we move into the fourth quarter of 2021, please remember that now is the time to start planning for 2022. Every business that plans for tomorrow starting today is much better situated as challenges arise. The Chamber is here to assist with your business needs; please do not hesitate to reach out, and please remember that my door is always open.  

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