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Message from A.J. Baynes: June 2024

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

As every member knows, the Chamber hosts multiple events throughout the year. However, none highlight our small business community quite like the Small Business Awards Luncheon and Showcase. While it is a day of recognition for our award winners among a crowd of 350 people from across our community, it is also a day when nearly fifty businesses set up their vendor tables to connect their businesses with our attendees. As the Chamber continues to refresh our brand, we are also refreshing our events; this year, we have moved our Small Business Awards Luncheon and Showcase to Salvatore's Italian Gardens to accommodate our growing audience and provide our vendors with even greater accessibility to our guests. Our event starts at 10am on Thursday, July 18, with the luncheon portion set to begin promptly at noon. We encourage everyone to arrive early to visit our showcase tables. Those arriving before 11am will be entered to win a $200 Wegman's Gift card.

We have another incredible group of award winners. Our Small Business of the Year is longtime Chamber member Rolly Pollies, a family-owned and operated business with multiple locations across Western New York since 2005. Our Community Stewardship Award goes to The Tool Library, while our Family-Owned Business Awardee is WNY Metro Roberts Realty. This year's At Your Service Award winner is Fat Bob's Smokehouse, and our Friend of the Chamber Award Winner is Eric Conrad, owner of The Junkluggers of Buffalo. Events like our Small Business Awards Luncheon wouldn't be possible without our incredible sponsors, specifically KeyBank. This year, our KeyBank Sponsor’s Award winner is WNY Medical P.C. We are deeply grateful for KeyBank's support of this incredible event. If you are interested in attending our luncheon or would like to have a showcase table, please click here for more information. We have less than ten showcase tables remaining, and tickets are going fast, so please act today, we look forward to seeing you on Thursday, July 18, from 10am to 2pm.

With the refresh of our conference room, we doubled our space and are thrilled to bring Speed Networking back to the Chamber. This event, scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, at 8am, offers the incredible opportunity to network with 40 other professionals. If you are interested in building your business connections, I encourage you to inquire how you can join a ProNet group today. ProNet is just one of the many opportunities we provide our members to develop real connections for their business. Click here to register for Speed Networking. Later this month, on June 27th, we are bringing back Open ProNet for those members that aren’t able to commit to the bi-monthly attendance for regular ProNets. Register here for Open ProNet – limited seats.

One of the pillars of our Chamber organization is our Emerging Business Leaders. This group of young professionals come together to hone their professional skills and make connections throughout our community. Tuesday, June 25, from 5:30 to 7:30, we'll be at Resurgence Brewing for our Summer ProMix. The EBL Summer ProMix is a must-attend event for any young professional looking to meet other rising stars in our community. We thank our sponsors BankonBuffalo, Batavia Downs Gaming and Hotel, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, OneBridge Benefits, and Spectrum Reach for their support. That evening, we will be raffling off numerous restaurant and spa gift certificates, a Thurman Thomas autographed football, Buffalo Bills & Buffalo Bison Tickets, and much more. All raffle proceeds collected will support Mental Health Advocates of WNY and Haven House.

As many of you know, the Chamber always does its best to find opportunities to collaborate with organizations from around the community when there is a benefit for our membership. We pride ourselves in working together to ensure we all succeed, and there is no better representation of that than our work with the WNY Chamber Alliance. A collection of Chambers from across our great Western New York region, all focused on the mission of supporting our business community. Tuesday, June 18, from 5:00-7:00, the WNY Chamber Alliance will host our Business After Hours event at the Hull House. Please register for the Chamber Mixer, and for those planning ahead, the Chamber will host its July Business After Hours at Serendipity Labs at Seneca One. You can register here for July 16th.

Those of you who could join us at The Amherst Ale House for our Lunch Mob enjoyed the incredible camaraderie and great patio weather. On Tuesday, July 9, we will be at Pierogi Pete's for our next Lunch Mob. As always, Lunch Mob is an open Chamber event. We always encourage everyone to bring a colleague or a friend to learn more about the Chamber in this casual setting. Click here to register for July Lunch Mob.

We are excited about the weeks ahead, and while most of WNY takes advantage of the incredible weather and the longer days, the Chamber will still have a full calendar of events to ensure our members get the most out of their membership. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to let us know, and please remember my door is always open.


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