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Message from A.J. Baynes: August 2022

A.J. Baynes Headshot
A.J. Baynes, President & CEO
Amherst Chamber 65 Year Anniversary Sticker

It has been a thrill to travel around our region the past two months, taking in all our area offers during the summer months. The energy in our community is incredible, and it is great to see people engaging with each other and exploring new places and businesses. The Chamber has undoubtedly felt an uptick in energy over the past few weeks, with numerous new members joining, either as long-time businesses recognizing the value of Chamber membership or new companies hoping to utilize the Chamber's vast network in marketing their business. I'd encourage everyone not to let the last few weeks of summer distract you from properly marketing your business as we begin to head towards the fall. The Chamber is here to help assist in your marketing and advertising needs. Whether you need industry experts to assist with search engine optimization, social media advertising, internet ad placement, or print/radio and television, the Chamber has professionals willing to work with your business to help prepare an appropriate outreach campaign on your behalf.

While the Chamber has incredible members who offer their expertise to other members, we have the great fortune of an outstanding Board of Directors. Over the past several years, our Board has grown in diversity and expertise, with board members coming from many walks of life helping to guide our great Chamber into the position that it is in today. As you heard from our Board Chair Mark Gaulin at last month's Small Business Awards Luncheon, the Chamber is in the strongest financial position it has been in quite some time. The Board has played a large part in our success, and many of those board members were recently listed on the Business First Power 200 Women's list. The Chamber has a record of seven remarkable women recognized on the list. Please see the list below, and I hope you share in the admiration I share for these women.

The Chamber continues to remain very active this summer, with NFTA Executive Director Kimberley Minkel speaking at our recent West Herr Driven to Success Series last week. This series is an incredible opportunity to hear from community leaders about their career paths and the impact their organizations are making on our community. We were fortunate to hear from Kim regarding the progress of the DL&W site behind the KeyBank Center Hockey arena, along with the potential for light-rail expansion out towards north Amherst.

Looking ahead, the Chamber is always focused on working together with our neighboring chambers. Tuesday, August 16, our next Business After Hours event is being jointly held with The Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce at Fred Astaire Dance Studio here in Williamsville. This will be a great way to network with members outside your Amherst Chamber network and is a perfect opportunity to highlight a local business that is willing to teach you a few dance moves if you are so inclined (or just want to mix and mingle)! Lunch Mob, last month at Amherst Ale House, was incredibly well attended, and I hope you will join us Thursday, August 24, at Lloyd's in Williamsville for what is sure to be another excellent networking opportunity.

As the Chamber prepares for the fall season, it also signals the beginning of open enrollment for employee health insurance benefits. While we are still in the early stages, the Chamber is preparing for a very busy fall season. That is why we have recently added Matthew Castaldo to our team. Matthew will serve duo roles assisting Penny and Christine as a licensed Health, Life, and Accident insurance broker while working with Maureen on the membership side. You may have met Matthew already, as he has jumped in with both feet in attending many events over the past few weeks. We are excited to grow our team with Matthew, and we know he will play a role with our team in delivering the first-in-class membership experience that you have come to expect from the Amherst Chamber. So please enjoy the rest of your summer, and please remember, my door is always open.

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