Chamber Corner: September 13, 2021


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 Recognizes Local Residents and Organizations

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize a number of local leaders and business and community service during our Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday, October 7.

The Chamber’s annual Economic Development Award is being presented to Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care. Not only does Chautauqua Hospice provide healthcare services countywide, but it embarked on a major effort during a pandemic to raise funds and expand its programming through the construction of a first ever local Hospice House, which will create jobs in our region and provide for patients and their families who need assistance at a critical time.

Two Persons of the Year Awards will be presented this year. One is to John D’Agostino, Manager Editor, OBSERVER and The Post-Journal, while the other is to Rochelle Molé, Vice President of Finance and Operations, National Comedy Center. Mr. D’Agostino has not only played a key role in the countywide through his work at the newspaper but has also been active in numerous community organizations including the Dunkirk/Fredonia Rotary Club, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County, and the Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce where he served as Board Chair for many years. Mrs. Molé has played a foundational role behind the scenes at the National Comedy Center and the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum where she cares for the organization as if it were here own: both overseeing the daily operations and also mentoring other team members. In the immediate wake of the pandemic shutdown in 2020 she proactively took on the challenges of navigating challenging financial issues and also oversaw the implementation of the National Comedy Center’s “LaughSafe” protocols to make the reopening a positive experience for all visitors.

Each of the six community Chambers of Commerce presents a Community Service Award during the Chamber Banquet.

The Dunkirk Community Chamber has selected Kirk Frey, who has owned Kirk’s Jewelers for over four decades and has also been actively engaged in the community through his church and through many charitable contributions.

The Fredonia Community Chamber chose Festivals Fredonia for its Community Service Award – a 100% volunteer organization which is responsible for putting on several festivals in the community annually including the popular Red, White & Blues Festival and many others.

The Hanover Community Chamber selected Aimee Rogers to receive its Community Service Award in recognition of her efforts with Imagine Forestville to both encourage the preservation of history and to encourage new business development in the hamlet.

The Jamestown Community Chamber selected Lou Deppas for its Community Service Award for his long-time commitment to the community currently through service to the Boards of Directors of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Jamestown YMCA, and National Comedy Center, as well as for his focus on business development in the region and his past efforts as the 20-year director of the Jamestown High School Marching Band.

The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber has chosen the Chautauqua Lake Central Schools under the direction of Superintendent Dr. Joshua Liddell for providing full-time in-person instruction for 95% of the district’s students during the very challenging 2020-2021 school year and creating a successful and safe environment for students.

The Westfield-Barcelona Community Chamber is presenting its Community Service Award to the Patterson Library Hands. This group of a dozen or so volunteers works diligently to serve the Patterson Library in Westfield through hands-on maintenance and improvement projects that keep the historic building working inside and out.

We are so fortunate to have many dedicated individuals in Chautauqua County who come together to volunteer as well as to provide for the bedrock of our growing business community. We hope the entire county will join us in saluting all of these deserving award recipients during the Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet, which will be held as a hybrid event this year. We welcome the opportunity to provide an in-person event once again at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia on October 7, where careful considerations are being made for the health and safety of one and all. There will also be an option for viewers to watch the awards ceremony online. Please watch for additional information very soon as final details for the Awards Banquet will be announced.

Chamber Helps Local Businesses Improve Sales

ShopLocalCHQ is more than just a slogan – it’s a set of programs that help local businesses increase their sales and marketing capacities.

For many years the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has offered a local gift card that has results in an over $3-million return to our local economy. The ShopLocalCHQ gift card is accepted at 140 local merchants and can be used for all types of purchases from restaurant delicacies to local wines to specialty retail purchases. is still in its infancy with the Chamber. It is essentially akin to a “local Amazon” where currently 74 local merchants have listed products for sale. Products purchased on the site can be aggregated into a single shopping cart to make the experience easy for the consumer, and the transaction for the merchant are simple. The platform also provides a great marketing tool for local businesses as they get grouped with others in order to provide an online shopping experience like no other – and all of it is local!

These tools are provided to Chamber member businesses at no additional cost above their membership investment. They are easy to use, and the Chamber staff can assist your business in getting set up in either program. If you haven’t tried them yet we encourage you to check them out and learn more on our website at or call our office at (716) 366-6200 or (716) 484-1101.