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Message from A.J. Baynes: November 2022

A.J. Baynes Headshot
A.J. Baynes, President & CEO

It is no secret to anyone reading this article that the labor market is tight; Western New York unemployment numbers are hovering around 3.3%, even lower than the statewide average of 3.9%. According to the Department of Labor September market briefing, nearly 80% of businesses in Western New York employ fewer than 20 people, which makes the competition to retain talent a constant battle for employers. That is why The Chamber remains committed to assisting our businesses to understand the marketplace better to ensure they offer the most competitive employee compensation packages to retain and attract employees.

The Chamber is the only Chamber in the area with a team of in-house Health Insurance brokers to respond to the needs of our business community. Employee benefits packages change year to year, and our team of dedicated professionals are on call and ready to assist you as we are in the midst of open enrollment. The Chamber offers competitive plans from all three major health insurance carriers, vision and dental coverage. Also, we can provide Life Insurance through a partnership with Buffalo First Wealth Management and the most comprehensive and cost-effective Employee Assistance Program through our partnership with Child & Family Services. I'd encourage every business owner, to reach out to the Chamber today for more information by emailing


Recently, the Chamber hosted its largest in-person event on record, The Event – Celebrating Business Excellence 2022, a celebration of incredible businesses who are genuinely making a positive impact on our economy and set a standard of corporate responsibility to our community. The Chamber reached maximum capacity at Salvatore's when we honored Excelsior Orthopaedics, Priam Enterprises, Frankie Primo's +39, Employer Services Corporation, FeedMore WNY, and Rhonda Frederick, President & CEO of People Inc.. These companies and individuals were overwhelmingly deserving of their recognition that night. Our community is a better place because of their presence. Events at the Chamber are an additional way to promote your company and see the diversity in our membership base, which spans over 70 unique zip codes throughout our region.

We are maintaining a heavy networking calendar for the remainder of the year, with our next Business After Hours event taking place Tuesday, November 15, from 5-7pm at the Alzheimer's Association of WNY offices. This is always a great event to network at, and you will have the opportunity to learn about the great work the Alzheimer's Association does in our community. We always have a diverse group of attendees, and I hope you will find the time to join us as we enter a very festive time of year. You can register here for Thursday, December 15 for our final Lunch Mob of the year at Soho on Chippewa!

The holiday season is fast approaching, and I encourage everyone to shop locally again this holiday season. If you visit, you can purchase an e-gift card for yourself, your family, and your friends. The Shop716 eGift Card is accepted at nearly 900 merchants throughout WNY and is only accepted at locally owned merchants. I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving, and please remember my door is always open.

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