Chamber Corner: Week of 3-23-2020

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Buy Safe! Buy Small!
Buy Local!

We are doing our best to stay in front of the changes both in New York State and across the country at this time as the global pandemic of COVID-19 impacts our lives and our businesses. At the time this is published there probably will be even more changes making some of this content irrelevant. However at the time of this writing, we encourage people to Buy Safe! Buy Small! Buy Local! Our small businesses need your support. Many are offering delivery services, curb-side pickup, ways to buy on-line, Face-time consultations and gift cards. Please continue to help our small businesses as they are feeling the financial crush of the pandemic.

It goes without saying that our families, our communities, and our work have all been disrupted. People may feel anxiety over potential illness, as well as stress over current economic conditions. We are a mobile society, and even with the advent of advanced technologies that allow us to communicate face-to-face from afar, we have been accustomed to working and socializing up close and personal with our colleagues, friends, neighbors, families and local business owners. Yet in these are unusual times and we all are learning to respond in new and creative ways.

We encourage the business community to think creatively. Are there ways you can still provide some products or services? This is a time to think and work differently, and to share those ideas with others. The Chamber of Commerce would like to hear your ideas. Also you may join our Facebook discussion group with your peers to get ideas and share your own.

As human beings, we have enormous capacity for resilience. This is our time to demonstrate it and to keep our local economy moving. Buy Safe. Buy Small. Buy Local. It makes a difference for all of us.

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance is Available to New York Businesses

Businesses in New York State can now apply for Disaster Loan Assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters. We encourage businesses to go to www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ for more details. Also, local Small Business Development Center personnel are available to help answer questions by calling (716) 338-1024.

Chamber & Manufacturers Association Provide Resources for Businesses

Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association continues to provide service to the local business community. Our staff will be, largely, working from home for the time being. Even under these circumstances we will be available to serve our businesses and our community.

You can still call us by phone at (716) 484-1101 or (716) 366-6200 and find a full list of our staff extensions which will be forwarded. Or you can reach us by email through the Contact Our Team page on our website: www.chautauquachamber.org.

While you’re on our site please take a look at some of the resources and links we have compiled for local businesses. These include the Governor’s executive orders on workforce reduction for non-essential businesses, to unemployment and shared work resources, to financial programs that may be helpful. All of this has been collected on a page focused on the coronavirus and businesses.

In addition, we are pleased to work with our partners, the County Economic Development office, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, and Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, to provide a searchable online list of local restaurants available for takeout or delivery at www.chqbuylocal.com. We will soon be adding an additional list of other local businesses too.

The Chamber and Manufacturers Association also created a very short survey to help evaluate the most critical needs for our businesses at this time. Whether your business is large or small we encourage you to complete the brief survey and let us know what you need most now, and, if you know, what your needs will be in the foreseeable future. There’s a survey link from our website.

It may go without saying at this point, but all of the events that had been planned for the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce have been postponed for the next month or so. We will seek appropriate times and ways to reschedule events when it is safe to do so.

The Census is Underway: Make Sure You’re Counted

Local residents have begun to receive Census reminder postcards in the mail. This year, Census data will be collected online, or in person if you don’t promptly respond online. Your postcard will direct you to the official US Census website, where your information will be kept securely and privately.

The Chamber of Commerce strongly encourages everyone to respond to the US Census. The Census count is the basis for all types of government allocation programs for everything from transportation to services to our representation in Congress. We would ask that all businesses remind their employees to be counted in the US Census. Everyone Counts!