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A good personal, business motto: Keep leaning forward

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In the local business community, we have a lot to learn from one another. Just a year ago Ben Webb from Webb’s Captain’s Table in Mayville joined the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In one of our earliest conversations, he shared a phrase that I believe is something of a personal and business motto: Keep leaning forward.

We have carried that with us, as 2022 has been a year of leaning forward for the Chamber of Commerce. As we emerged from the pandemic to hold a robust calendar of events, we have seen a return of strong attendance, new connections, and great friendships through the year. We also embarked on a strategic planning process to evaluate our operations and offerings, which will help set our course for the coming years.

Part of our forward movement includes growing our membership. We have added over 30 business members this year and the Chamber now represents more than 900 businesses across the region.

We have also focused on spreading the word about our ShopLocalCHQ Gift Card program. In 2022 we’ve seen a 27 percent increase in merchant participation with over 165 Chautauqua County businesses now accepting the gift card, and an increase in consumer use of the card of $31,000 over last year. That is a substantial amount of money being pumped into our local economy directly through purchases at our small businesses, and I thank everyone who has purchased, given, or used a ShopLocalCHQ Gift Card this year. There’s still time to order gift cards for corporate or personal giving, but the last day for sales before Christmas is December 22 so don’t wait!

None of this growth would be possible without the wise direction of our board and the hard work of our talented team. It also would not be possible without the enthusiasm and support of our membership, because every email you read, event you attend, and sponsorship you commit is what makes our robust menu of services possible.

The Chamber of Commerce is grateful to each person and business who has supported us this year, whether it’s through membership, sponsorship, or event attendance. Thank you for your active participation in the Chamber and we are eager to keep leaning forward together in the year ahead.


Following robust sales on Cyber Monday, the Chamber has extended its discount on our web platform! Consumers can now purchase great merchandise from local small businesses online and get a 20% discount when your shopping cart totals $200 or less. This offer is valid through December 19 for items purchased directly through the Chamber’s Shop Where I Live platform. Your items must be for sale directly through the platform and not redirected to another sales site. is an online sales and marketing platform offered by the Chamber of Commerce through Shop Where I Live. This site features over 70 local merchants offering more than 300 products for sale, and all these businesses are LOCAL! Check it out now and save through December 19.



Now accepted at over 165 local businesses, the ShopLocalCHQ Gift Card would be a great gift or stocking stuffer for anyone on your list this season!

ShopLocalCHQ Gift Cards are available only through the Chamber of Commerce and can be purchased for any amount between $5 and $500. That makes them just the right item for employee appreciation, a thank you to a teacher or service provider, or a friend or family member who is hard to buy for. The recipient can use it for dining out, shopping for gifts, household items, groceries, or at some local attractions.

To make it easier to purchase ShopLocalCHQ Gift Cards, the Chamber is staffing its Jamestown office at 300 North Main Street from 8am-4:30pm Monday-Friday, and its Dunkirk office at 10785 Bennett Road from 8:30am-4:30pm Monday-Wednesday. The Chamber will be closed December 23, so please be sure to get your gift cards in advance.

Processing orders for multiple cards does take some time, so we urge you to call in advance at (716) 484-1101 extension 201 or email Carrie Swanson at A convenient order form, and more details, can be found on our website at

The ShopLocalCHQ Gift Card is issued by Pathward†, N.A., Member FDIC. Funds do not expire. Non-reloadable and no cash access. For Cardholder Agreement or Customer Service: or 1-833-558-1088.

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