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652 Main Street, East Aurora, NY 14052

The Principles of Greatness - A Chamber Blog

Three local Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalitions join forces

Three local Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalitions join forces to encourage communities to “Celebrate” WNY

This first of its kind collaboration promotes healthy communities this summer

Three local Drug-Free Community (DFC) Coalitions; Alden Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, FOCUS; For Our Community Unity & Support (Lancaster/Depew), and ITAC- It Takes A Community Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition (Elma, Marilla, and Wales) have joined forces to create a strong underage drinking messaging campaign.

This joint campaign message is one of a celebration of our communities and sends a positive message- ‘thank you for not serving minors during June, July, and August, a season typically of many celebrations.

This is the first time that 3 Coalitions in 6 local neighboring towns and 2 counties have partnered together and included businesses, and parents in an underage drinking messaging campaign. Pizzerias and grocery stores in our targeted areas will receive 4×6 stickers to adhere to pizza boxes and take out containers, 20 families in each community- (60 total) were recruited to display lawn signs- and a total of 6 billboards in the Towns of Alden, Lancaster and Elma will post the same message throughout the summer months. All messaging materials display the same image and message. 

The Coalitions targeted underage drinking since alcohol is the drug of choice for most young people. Statistics point to the fact that alcohol is used by more young people than tobacco or illicit drugs. 

The objective of this project is to reduce underage drinking by providing information and support to the parents and youth in our communities. In an agreed-upon and collective approach, FOCUS, ITAC, and Alden Substance Abuse Coalition submitted a request for and received grant monies from the Western Regional Addiction Resource Collaborative funding a “Social Host Law, Underage Drinking Campaign” to be directed during the Project Dates of June 1- August 30th in the Towns that are affiliated with each of the 3 coalitions: Alden, Lancaster, Depew, Elma, Marilla, Wales. The message is one of support to families and provides the EC Sheriff’s underage drinking tip line.

 

New Catering Business Opening on Main Street

New catering business opening on Main Street brings a taste of the Pacific Northwest to WNY

Holding an Open House and Ribbon Cutting on June 18

A new catering business is bringing Western New Yorkers a flavorful taste of the Pacific Northwest!

Pacific Underground Catering is owned by Marleta Stansberry, who is on a mission to create beautiful and great-tasting food and memories while developing an atmosphere of hospitality.

To that end, Pacific Underground Catering, located at 700 Main Street, will hold a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 18. Reservations are appreciated by June 11. To RSVP, please email pacificundergroundcatering@gmail.com.

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Marleta has lived in WNY for the past 20 years and is a chef, mom, food enthusiast, artist, and educator.

Marleta is passionate about beautiful food. Her background is in art, education and culinary arts.  She has worked in the culinary field officially for nearly 10 years, has been a chef instructor, a catering chef, and a personal chef.

Pacific Underground Catering also provides a small event space and will be a place of education.  Cooking classes will begin in July.

If you are interested in attending the Open House and Ribbon Cutting on July 18 or would like more information on Pacific Underground Catering, please email pacificundergroundcatering@gmail.com.

2021 Chamber’s Choice Awards

Chamber Announces 24th Annual Chamber Choice Honorees

Program to be aired on WBBZ-TV

The Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce is again proud to present the annual Chamber’s Choice Awards student recognition. The program is designed to acknowledge and honor students who have demonstrated significant development in a variety of aspects of their learning and growth, such as community service, entrepreneurship, citizenship, artistic excellence, and communications as well as many other diverse areas.

Ten seniors are selected from each of the 4 schools, East Aurora, Holland and Iroquois high schools, and the BOCES W.D. Ormsby Educational Center.

The program provides an opportunity for these students to be recognized for their positive contributions to their schools, communities, and peer groups.

In a non-Covid year the Chamber would typically recognize the students with a banquet dinner with over 200 guests attending including the students, their family members, teachers, school officials and business leaders, and sponsors but this year, with sponsorship support, the Chamber was able to give the students recognition across Western NY with the help of WBBZ-TV, Cable Channel 5, with a 30-minute television show with each student and school having an opportunity to do a brief presentation about themselves.

The program will air 3 times, Wednesday, May 19 – 9 pm and Sunday, May 23 – 10:30 am and 7:30 pm.

Special thanks to the program sponsors – Tops Markets, University Pediatric Dentistry, and Astronics, Inc., and congratulations to our honorees.

The 2021 Honorees:

 

East Aurora High School

 

Ethan Frey
Elizabeth Gottstine
Katherine Kalinski
Kiera Kavcic
Joseph Meyer
Caroline Ruffner
Annika Safford
Annika Spencer
Brennan Weppner
Thomas Zagrobelny

Holland High School

 

Ryan Grisewood
Lindsey Massara
Kelly Murray
Sebastian Pitkin
Cassidy Ralph
Donald Schmidt
Emma Suplicki
Brianna Tullar
Noah Wiltsie
Emily Zehnder

Iroquois High School

Jacob Cantie
Nicholas Capozzi
Ryan Current
Chloe Dye
Birch Herring-Jackson
Kaleigh Lauck
Madelyn MacLean
Tori Raymond
Tyler Stanley
Samuel Weber

Ormsby Educational Center – Erie 2-Chaut-Catt BOCES

James Bonnar (Iroquois/CADD)
Jacob Fontaine (East Aurora/Conservation)
Alyssa Ignatowski (East Aurora/Small Animal Care)
Brandon Neischel (Holland/Auto Tech)
Kathryn Roberts (East Aurora/Health Careers)
Shelby Rogers (Iroquois/Welding)
Mario Serra (Holland/Power Equipment)
Tyler Stanley (Iroquois/Power Equipment)
Hailey Tullar (Holland/Small & Large Animal Science)
Brooke Urmson (Iroquois/Culinary Arts)

Special thank you to our sponsors:

Chamber Newsletter – April 2021 – Updates on Events, Member Benefits, & COVID

See all the wonderful things the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce is doing for its members and the community! From events to new benefits to strategic planning, the Chamber is constantly working to bring broaden its scope and offerings in order to help our community and local businesses grow!

Click below to view our latest newsletter. It contains information on upcoming events, new member benefits, COVID updates, new PPE offerings, and a message from Gary Grote, our Executive Director.

Chamber Newsletter April 26 2021

WinterFest Mini Restaurant Week Starts Thursday, Feb. 18

Chamber hosts first annual WinterFest Mini Restaurant Week Feb. 18 to Feb. 20

Seventeen local restaurants to participate

Seventeen (17) local restaurants will be participating in the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce’s first annual WinterFest Mini Restaurant Week, Thursday, Feb. 18 through Saturday, Feb. 20.

The Chamber partnered with the Town of Aurora this year to help create some fun new events for WinterFest 2021. “We wanted to get our local businesses involved and encourage people to come out to the greater East Aurora region during WinterFest,” explained Victoria Sturman, Associate Director of the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce.

“The last restaurant week we did in September was very successful but was only open to Chamber members. Knowing how difficult the past year has been for all of our restaurants, we decided to open up this event to non-members as well. Our goal is to help our entire business community during this pandemic, not just our members.”

Participating restaurants include*:

*Please note, these links are to the restaurants’ websites, and may not display the special WinterFest Mini Restaurant Week menus. Please visit here to view the special menus.

More information on the restaurants and their special WinterFest Restaurant Week menus will be posted on the Chamber’s website – www.eanycc.com. Each menu includes meals at one (or more) of the following price points: $10, $20, or $30.

This event is sponsored by The Bonadio Group, a top 50 CPA firm that delivers a full spectrum of services to help clients overcome their financial and business challenges.

 

 

Local Businesses join with Chamber for unique Pay It Forward event & ITAC Fundraiser

Local Businesses join with Chamber for unique Pay It Forward event & ITAC Fundraiser

Gift Card Raffle to help support struggling area businesses

 Several local businesses are joining forces with the Greater East Auror Chamber of Commerce to host a new and unique “pay it forward” event focused on helping fellow business owners who have struggled during the pandemic while also supporting ITAC – It Takes A Community Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition.

The Chamber’s new 2021 Snowflake Gift Card Raffle is going on now through Friday, Feb. 12.

According to Victoria Sturman, Associate Director of the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber wanted to create an event that would directly help the businesses that are struggling most – specifically those in the restaurant, retail, and health & wellness industries.

“Some of our members have been asking us what they can do to help their fellow business owners, who they see fighting to keep their doors open,” Sturman said. “After lots of discussion and brainstorming, we decided to create a new event where business owners who weren’t as badly affected by the pandemic could reach out – through the Chamber – and support those who are facing challenges.”

How does it work?

Businesses sign-on to be a sponsor of the event – there are five levels. As a sponsor, that business gets to choose a business or businesses (depending on the sponsorship level) to support through the purchase of a $50 gift card(s). Part of their sponsorship investment goes toward the purchase of those gift cards.

“The response from sponsors has been fantastic. It really shows how close-knit a community the Greater East Aurora region is and that, when it comes down to it, we’re all in this fight together. It’s so great to see businesses who normally compete coming together to help each other out, “ she said.

The gift cards are bundled into “virtual baskets” worth $100 or more. These “virtual baskets” will then be raffled off LIVE on the Chamber’s Facebook page (@EastAuroraChamber) at noon on Friday, Feb. 12. ITAC will receive a percentage of the net profits from this event.

Raffle tickets are on sale now through the Chamber’s website or at the Chamber office, 652-8444. The “virtual baskets” can also be viewed online.

There are still sponsorships available for any business wishing to offer support. Please contact the Chamber at 652-8444 or visit its website for more information.

The drawing will work similar to a door prize drawing – all tickets go into one basket and the winners are chosen randomly. But rest assured, Sturman says, there is someone thing for everyone!

The winners will be drawn LIVE on the Chamber’s Facebook page at Noon on Friday, Feb. 12. Winners will be notified via email.

The Chamber wants to thank all of the businesses who have stepped up to this point sponsors this event and their fellow business owners: 

Blizzard Sponsor
West Herr Buick BMC Cadillac

Snow Storm Sponsor
General Physician

Snow Day Sponsor
Bartsch’s Auto Service
Great Erie Federal Credit Union
Metamorphosis Pilates & Bodyworks
Philipps and Brooks, CPAs
Vision Development of WNY

 

Snowflake Sponsor

FMV Tax Professionals
Hartloff Benefit Solutions LLC
Holland Hardware
Independent Nursing Care
Loptr, LLC

 

Donations

Bartsch’s Auto Service
Hampton Inn
ITAC
Marilla Country Store
Mary Karlis
The Bank
Tom Petrie

Chamber talks with Sen. Patrick Gallivan about COVID impacts on businesses

This morning, Wednesday, Dec. 2, the Greater East Aurora Chamber along with several other Chambers locally and across the State, had a Zoom meeting with NYS Senator Patrick Gallivan.

We discussed many of the challenges our business communities are facing from Covid restrictions; health; safety concerns of the public and employees; hiring, unemployment, and workforce issues; to the impacts not only on retail and restaurants but also on manufacturing and the issues working remotely has on our local businesses.

We also talked about the negative, long-lasting impact that would be created if there was another round of shutdowns.

The conversation continued on what the Senate and Assembly would do regarding the Governor’s Covid authority once the NYS legislative session kicked in January 2021.

The group also stressed the need for financial relief for businesses during the continuation of Covid restrictions.

The Senator was hopeful – as we all are – that the impact of this crisis will lessen as we head into the new year and that the State legislature will take some actions to help and lessen restrictions on businesses.

Senator Gallivan said he would review our concerns with his staff and at the start of 2021 work to communicate with and assist businesses in his district to enable them to survive and succeed.

The Chamber will continue to advocate on your behalf with our local, state, and federal officials. We know these are troubling times and we’ll use all our connections to make sure your voice is heard loud and clear.

We’ve Got Your Back

Greater East Aurora Chamber Joins with Other Local Chambers in Issuing Statement of Support for Local Businesses

 

The Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce is here to support you and other local businesses!

During these challenging times, we felt it was extremely important for us to take a stand and advocate on your behalf!

Today we joined with several other local chambers, representing nearly 2,000 businesses across Erie County, to express our deep concern with the state’s issuing of blanket micro-cluster restrictions based on industry.

Our joint public statement – which will be sent to local and state officials as well as the media and our members – is below.

Please know, we are with you and support you!

Feel free to share this statement on your social media and use the hashtag #wesupportsmallbusinessWNY!!

If there is anything the Chamber can do to help you during this time, please reach out!

Sincerely,

Gary D. Grote
Executive Director
Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce
(716) 652-8444
ggrote@eanycc.com

 

Joint Statement from Local WNY Chambers of Commerce

 

We, the undersigned Chambers of Commerce representing nearly 2,000 businesses and organizations across Western New York, strongly advocate for adjustment of the regulatory business closure procedures within designated cluster zone areas as part of the state Cluster Action Initiative. We believe that the vast majority of local businesses have made substantial investments and taken significant action to ensure they are following safety protocols and NY Forward guidance. Those businesses that have remained in compliance and continue to be vigilant should be allowed to remain open to the public. Sweeping mandated closures should not be conducted by industry (salons, barbershops, gyms, etc.), but rather individually. 

For the past nine months, our Chambers of Commerce have worked with hundreds of small businesses, guiding them through unprecedented challenges. We have played a major role in helping them understand the complex issues of phasing; finding financial aid and assistance through loans, grants, and other sources; and providing a pipeline with other business people, agencies, and local elected officials. 

The small business community is the lifeblood of our local economy, and we strongly encourage our elected officials to proceed with extreme caution when making decisions that could severely impact the future of our regional economy and workforce for many years to come. We are united in saying that businesses operating safely and responsibly must be allowed to remain open! 

Finally, we strongly encourage the residents of Western New York to support our local business community not just during the holiday season but year-round, whether in-person, online, curbside, or through the purchase of gift certificates. Further, we encourage our government officials to provide immediate additional funding to help businesses recover and maintain pre-pandemic employment levels. 

Sincerely, 

Clarence Chamber of Commerce

Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce

Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Chamber of Commerce

Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce

West Seneca Chamber of Commerce

 

Share joy! Shop Small on November 28!

Share Joy! Shop Small on November 28!

Saturday, Nov. 28 is Small Business Saturday, and this year, more than others, it’s important to support our local businesses!

The COVID pandemic, and the recent upgrade of micro-cluster zones, have taken a harsh toll on our local businesses and we need to show our support.

As we enter the holiday season, please support your local business community

If it’s safe for you, come out and shop. All of our businesses have safety procedures in place and, due to restrictions, are only allowing a certain number of shoppers inside at one time. We understand it can be frustrating, but we ask that everyone remain patient if you have to wait to enter a shop.

Also, please make sure to wear masks, wash your hands, and stay socially distant.

And, if you’re coming into East Aurora on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 there’s no need to worry about parking!

The Chamber reached out to Fisher-Price, which graciously agreed to let the public utilize its parking lot, located at Riley Street and Girard Avenue, for FREE! The lot provides quick access to much of the village business district.

If you can’t come out and shop in person, please remember many of our local businesses offer online shopping through websites and social media and will be offering curbside delivery or shipping. So make sure to check out your favorite shop or restaurant online!

Another way to #shoplocal is to buy gift cards from your favorite store or restaurant.

You can also purchase a Chamber Gift Certificat that can be used at a wide variety of businesses in our area. Chamber Gift Certificates can be purchased online, at www.eanycc.com, where you can also find a current list of participating businesses. You can also call us at (716) 652-8444.

Make sure to tune into 
WBBZ TV on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. for our first-ever televised Carolcade 2020 Holiday Special. It will re-air on Saturday, Dec. 5 at noon and again on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10:30 a.m. You can find WBBZ at cable channel 5 & antenna channel 67.1 on most carriers.

We hope you all stay safe and healthy this holiday season. And please – #SupportLocal!!!

How will NY’s new Sick Leave Law affect your business?

How will NY’s new Sick Leave Law affect your business?

On Sept. 30, a new state law – the New York State Sick Leave Law (NYSSL) – went into effect, mandating ALL businesses in New York – regardless of size – offer some amount of sick time to employees.On that same date, employees across the state started accruing this sick time – which can be paid or unpaid depending on business size and revenue – at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked.

We have a simple question for you – Is your business prepared?

Two of our Chamber Members – Complete Payroll & Paychex – have been fielding many calls from local employers with questions about this new law.

“The way that it’s rolled out, every employee is eligible for the sick time whether they are full-time or part-time,” explained Rob Kropczynski, Regional Manager of Complete Payroll. “If you have a current policy in place that meets or exceeds the new mandate, that’s good. You just need to make sure you’re meeting all of the points.”

So what are the points?

  • All employees – full and part-time – started accruing sick time as of Sept. 30 at a rate of one hour per 30 hours worked.
  • For businesses with four (4) employees or less, the sick time does not have to be paid. However, if that business makes more than $1 million in revenue, employees must be given up to 40 hours of paid sick time.
  • Businesses with five (5) to 99 employees must provide up to 40 hours of accrued paid sick time. If employees accrue more, the business only has to pay for 40 hours. The amount of revenue doesn’t matter.
  • Businesses with 100 employees or more must offer 56 hours of paid sick time, regardless of revenue. This applies to non-profit organizations as well.
  • Employers can set a minimum number of hours an employee can take in one day, which cannot exceed four (4) hours.
  • Employers can ask for sick time requests in writing, but cannot ask for employees to disclose confidential information or the underlying reasons.
  • Employers cannot threaten or retaliate against employees who use their sick time.

According to Charlotte Cowley, a Payroll Consultant with Paychex, this sick time can be carried over year to year. “However, employers with fewer than 100 employees may limit an employee’s use of sick leave to 40 hours per year, and employers with 100 or more employees may limit use to 56 hours per year,” she said.

She also said that while employees accrue sick time, an employer can choose to provide their staff with the entire amount of leave at the beginning of the year. Another thing to be aware of is that this law allows employees to use the time for more reasons than just illness.

NYSSL can be used for:

  • Employee’s mental or physical illness, or injury, or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for employee’s mental or physical illness or injury;
  • Covered family member’s mental or physical illness or injury or diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventive care for a covered family member’s mental or physical illness or injury;
  • Absences related to employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking; or
  • Absences related to a covered family member’s status as a victim of domestic violence, family offense, sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking.

For more information on this law or for a review of your current policy, please feel free to contact representatives from either Complete Payroll or Paychex. Both companies are members of the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce. Contact information can be found below, as can links to more information.

Complete Payroll
Maria Frungillo-French
Account Executive
www.completepayroll.com
mfrungillo-french@completepayroll.com
(607) 661-3477

More information from Complete Payroll on the New York State Sick Leave Law is available on the company’s blog. Here’s a short video to learn more about Maria.

Paychex, Inc.
Charlotte Cowley
Payroll Consultant
www.paychex.com
ccowley@paychex.com
(585) 245-2355

For more information about the law, please check out this article from Paychex.

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