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Lingering pandemic forces businesses to think ahead | News, Sports, Jobs – Evening Observer

Chautauqua County Businesses have by and large done a great job to adapt and overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last eighteen months. While business has mostly returned to “normal,” who knows what may be coming as winter approaches and cases are on the rise both locally and around the world. The original pause of our economy in 2020 happened fast and without notice, but going forward business owners can now strategically develop their plans A, B, and C, to ensure they have options available should drastic regulations ever be implemented again.

For the Chamber of Commerce, this thinking relates specifically to events. One of the core components of value to our members is opportunities to network and learn from each other via in-person mixers or speaker series. There are numerous Chamber events slated for this fall, including our marquee annual banquet, a well-attended and enjoyed event every October. While we are planning ahead for an in-person event as if everything is normal, we are also outlining what other options may look like in a “plan B, C, or even D” scenario.

Local businesses can do the same by taking some time to look at their operations and analyzing their business practices both now and during the heat of the pandemic to see how they weathered the pause, and what they might be able to do differently in a similar situation. Do you have the resources or supplies needed if PPE or other items were needed again? Is your business nimble enough to pivot operations quickly should the need arise? Have you developed and maintained an online presence whether your own or through the Chamber’s ShopLocalCHQ platform?

Certainly nobody wants things to pause again or have to navigate murky pandmic regulations again, but the reality is we’ve got to play the hand we’re dealt which means analyzing operations and planning for multiple scenarios. The good news is Chautauqua County businesses are resourceful and resilient, and those who were able to quickly adapt weathered the storm and in some cases found a new niche segment of business.

If your business had a particularly successful shift during the pandemic, or lessons that may be helpful to others we’d love to hear about it, and you can continue this conversation with me at [email protected]. The Chamber of Commerce will continue to be a conduit of information to our local business community, and is here to support your needs in these unusually challenging times.

Business After Hours at Lakeshore Center for the Arts is September 16

The Chautauqua County and Westfield-Barcelona Community Chambers of Commerce will jointly hold a Business After Hours networking event at Lake Shore Center for the Arts, 49 South Portage Street, Westfield, from 5-6:30pm on Thursday, September 16. This event is open to all businesspeople countywide. Chamber member businesses can send two representatives at no charge. The cost for non-members or for members over and above the first two is $15 per person. Appetizers will be catered by Calarco’s and wine from Johnson Estate Winery will be served. This event will be held on the second floor, but it is accessible to all. Register online at now!

Save the Date: Chamber Awards Banquet is October 7

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is planning its Annual Awards Banquet for October 7, 2021. Last year we were forced to run an all-online event as it was impossible for our award recipients and local businesspeople to gather together. This year we are planning to provide an in-person event with an option for viewers to watch the awards presentations online if we cannot assemble a large crowd, so stay tuned for details, but mark the date on your calendar!

Plans are underway for the publication of the annual Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Edition in The Post-Journal, OBSERVER, and Westfield Republican. The distribution date is set for September 16 and we encourage local businesses to place an ad in recognition of all of the award recipients and all of the work done by our County and Community Chambers done throughout the year.

Your ad in the Chamber Edition provides you with recognition by the community, the opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of individuals, organizations, and businesses in our communities, and countywide exposure to over 37,000 readers and the potential to reach new customers. This publication is a great way to highlight your business and garner the attention of consumers as well as other businesses. As a Chamber member you will have access to a special advertising package for this publication. An advertising representative from the papers may contact you soon or you can contact The Post-Journal or OBSERVER for more information about the Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Edition.

Shop Local to Support Our Economy

It’s not a new concept, but it has renewed significance since many businesses had to close at the onset of the pandemic last year. The Shop Local movement is more relevant than ever. If you sincerely want to help boost your community and our local businesses, spend your money with local merchants and local restaurants.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has been stressing the importance of shopping locally for many years. We offer a local gift card that can be used at more than 140 merchants countywide. We have promoted Small Business Saturday, working to drive sales to local businesses at the start of each busy holiday shopping season. And in 2020 we worked with a number of partners to launch ShopLocalCHQ, an online sales and marketing platform that provides a convenient way to support local businesses through online shopping.

ShopLocalCHQ now offers over 400 products through 74 local merchants. It’s a fast and simple way to make a difference for local business while you’re shopping for things you need and want anyway. Just visit and click on Shop Now to find a variety of products and service offered by local businesses. Shopping through this site is as easy as shopping on the big box online stores. You can aggregate all of your purchases in a single shopping cart and checkout is convenient. Whether you’re shopping for back to school or just looking for some great local merchandise, visit to support local business.

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