Chamber Corner: May 17, 2021

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

Chamber Offers an Opportunity to Reach New Customers

Has your business considered pop-up retail? Pop-up shops are generally designed to be temporary locations offering goods for sale for a limited time only. Now, the Chamber of Commerce is working with a group of partners to create a different type of pop-up: one that would provide a year-round presence in a growing local market.

A pop-up retail location in downtown Jamestown would offer a low cost and low risk opportunity to increase sales, test products in a new market, reach new customers, or test a physical retail location or a new location. Downtown Jamestown offers high visibility storefront locations, a wide variety of event programming (especially as pandemic regulations continue to be lifted), local attractions such as the National Comedy Center and Lucy-Desi Museum, an active weekly public market, hockey tournaments that bring in visitors, year round entertainment at local theaters, and bus tour traffic.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is working with a variety of partners in this endeavor. The Resource Center has established a draft business model that would allow for a fully operational year-round storefront where vendors could rotate in and out. The site would feature a professional staff supervisor and also be a training ground as The Resource Center continues its mission to train the disabled for real world work through experience and supervision. The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is working to identify locations and acting as a liaison with property owner. The Small Business Development Center is providing small business assistance and supporting the recruitment of retailers. The Gebbie Foundation is supporting this development model.

The Chamber of Commerce will focus its efforts on recruiting retail vendors for the space as well as marketing the store as an extension of its new ShopLocalCHQ brand: already providing an online shopping and marketing platform as well as a gift card that serve local businesses.

There is still work to be done to bring this program to fruition. The Chamber and SBDC are meeting with local businesses that may have an interest in participating. Factors that are still being determined are the costs for vendors including the potential of square footage or sales commission agreements. The Chamber and The Resource Center are also working to convene an advisory council with community members to finalize details.

If you are a seasonal business looking for off-season sales, or if you have a retail location that is outside of Jamestown, we invite your questions and input. For more information please contact Todd Tranum at ttranum@chautauquachamber.org.

Vaccinations Will Get Us Back to Normal

Ready to give up the mask? There’s a simple fix for that: get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control recently announced that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need masks in most places. There are some caveats. The CDC specifically indicates that even vaccinated people must cover their faces and physically distance when going to doctor’s offices, hospitals, or long-term care facilities; when traveling by bus, plane, train, or other public transportation; or while in transportation hubs such as airports and bus stations, or in prisons, jails, or homeless shelters.

At the same time, the CDC also deferred to local or state requirements for masks in businesses and workplaces.

This announcement, however, should be viewed as another good reason for Americans to get vaccinated. We have already seen that as more New Yorkers get vaccinated the state has lifted – and continues to life – restrictions on businesses and gathering places. We continue to urge all local businesses to stay apprised of any changing guidance at https://forward.ny.gov.

If you have not been vaccinated please consider doing so. It’s the fastest way to restore some normalcy as we protect the health of our families, communities, workplaces, and economy. Vaccines are readily available – often without an appointment. You can find vaccine sites and make an appointment by visiting www.vaccinehound.org/chautauqua – a site developed by the University at Buffalo to help all Western New Yorkers get vaccinated. In addition, The Chautauqua Center will bring vaccines to your workplace if you have ten or more employees ready to be vaccinated. For more information contact The Chautauqua Center at (716) 484-4334 or find them online at tcchealth.org.