Written by Todd J. Tranum, President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce
& Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

Even though it’s our own made up word, it actually carries some weight here in Chautauqua County.  What does it mean when we say “Shoptauqua”? It means we are encouraging people to shop locally, right here in Chautauqua County.

By working with businesses across the County, we helped to kick off the local shopping season on Small Business Saturday. Now our focus is to keep that movement working throughout the holiday shopping season. Whether you are looking for gifts for men, women, children or whole families, you can find something meaningful and unique at locally owned small businesses.  And when you buy from a local merchant, you really are helping to put food on the table, a roof over a head, and clothes on the back of your neighbors and friends. You are supporting local business people who help support their children’s sports and music lessons, and who give to local charities.

The Chamber of Commerce, with support from the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, launched the Shoptauqua Gift Card last year to replace its paper gift check program. Since that time the gift card has really taken off! Local companies and organizations are buying Shoptauqua Gift Cards to give as holiday gifts, a thank you to employees or customers and throughout the year as bonuses or special rewards. Individuals are also buying Shoptauqua Gift Cards to give as gifts for holidays, weddings, and other special occasions. In its first twelve months more than $70,000 worth of Shoptauqua Gift Cards have been sold and are being used at a wide variety of local businesses including attractions, restaurants, retailers, wineries, and much more.  With over 120 merchants now accepting the Shoptauqua Gift Card, it’s easy to find a way to use it for everyday items like groceries or housewares, or for special items like clothing or a night out.

Driving foot and internet traffic to our member businesses is the FIRST point in our Chamber Five Point Focus. Customers are the life blood of any business, and the Chamber works hard to foster connections between businesses and customers.  The Shoptauqua Gift Card is one of the tools that helps make that happen, along with referrals, search engine optimization, local programs and events run in conjunction with our six community Chambers, and promotional and advertising opportunities. 

You can purchase Shoptauqua Gift Cards in any amount up to $500. If you need a quantity of cards it’s best to call ahead to place your order so it can be ready for you. Card orders can take some time to process, especially for quantities. There are no additional charges for the card purchase; it costs just the value of each card you choose to buy.  For more information you can call the Chamber at (716) 484-1101 or (716) 366-6200 or learn more online at

Please remember to shop locally this season, and consider Shoptauqua Gift Cards to keep your dollars working in our local economy.