(716) 652-8444 |  eachamber@eanycc.com

652 Main Street, East Aurora, NY 14052

The Principles of Greatness - A Chamber Blog

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.

Get up-to-date on what’s happening with the 2020 Carolcade and other Chamber initiatives.

Get up-to-date on what’s happening with the 2020 Carolcade and other Chamber initiatives.

With the Christmas holiday approaching quickly the Chamber is very happy to announce it has been working on a “shop local” holiday promotion along with a plan to commemorate the 48th Annual Carolcade in the absence of a “live” event!

In early December the Chamber, as a result of strong sponsorship support from the Bank of Holland and Vidler’s 5&10, will be featuring a half-hour Carolcade TV show on WBBZ-TV.

Read more…..

 

Two Chamber Members featured in Buffalo Magazine

Two Chamber Members Featured in Newest Edition of Buffalo Magazine

 

Two members of the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce are featured in the newest edition of Buffalo Magazine. The Deli and Kickstand Culture are both featured in the article titled: “Hospitality meets creativity on Main Street, East Aurora.”

The article is part of a shop local series created to help keep WNY’s economy “bright and vital.”

The Deli participated in this year’s Taste of East Aurora Restaurant Week in September, which is hosted by the Chamber.

Kickstand Culture was one of the vendors at the Chamber’s annual Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale this year, which was hosted online via the Chamber’s Facebook page.

Please take a moment to read the article and share it with your family friends.

We are East Aurora Proud!

Photo credit: Buffalo Magazine

Hartloff Benefits – Empowering people to make good Healthcare and Medicare choices

Hartloff Benefits – Empowering people to make good Healthcare and Medicare choices

By Hartloff Benefits

It starts with the premise that “You are handling a Senior’s Health Insurance – you need to get it right!” The focus is always on doing the right thing for the client. As brokers we represent the client, not the insurance companies. It is crucial that we get the right plan for each client.  With over 40 Medicare Advantage plan and half a dozen Medigap plans available, there are a lot of choices!

A big part of our process is getting to know our clients.  Taking the time to learn – not just about medical needs but lifestyle and travel plans. We also need to inquire about medical history, including prescriptions, and potential future medical procedures. I have had many folks say to me – “You ask a lot of questions”. How a client answers these questions will help develop a strategy for healthcare and finding the best plan for their needs. And then when the process is completed, they say “Now I understand why you asked so many questions, this plan fits me!”

Encouraging clients to ask questions is a key part of the process. Learning is a two-way street.  We want our clients to learn about the Agency and learn about the myriad of options they have. Many times, spouses will not only have different plans but may use different insurance companies. Often, we must explain that the plan your friend or neighbor said is the “best plan out there”, just is not right for them. We do not believe that there is a “one size fits all”.

April Hartloff, owner of Hartloff Benefit Solutions LLC constantly says, “We must empower our clients to make good Healthcare and Medicare choices”. It is important that we educate clients not just on the plans, but how the plans work. During our process, we ensure that people know the differences between the Advantage plans, Medigap plan, and Part D Drug Plans.   We believe that if the client does not understand their plan, they are not able to take full advantage of the benefits.

For us, we start the process six months prior to Medicare eligibility. This can be as simple as discussing whether they even need to enroll in Medicare, or if it would be more beneficial to stay in their health insurance through work. We “pencil it out”, meaning that we look for the best coverage that is most cost-effective. People need to know what their options are, what is most cost-effective, and understand the differences between Health Insurance through the workplace and Medicare. This is empowering clients in their decision making.

At Hartloff Benefit Solutions, we believe that as Employee Benefits brokers, we have a distinctive edge in that we know and understand workplace Health Insurance.  By knowing the type of coverage, the employee has at work, we can ease the transition to Medicare. By keeping our focus on Employee Benefits and Medicare, we are not “product pushing”. Unlike some Agencies that try to sell everything, including the kitchen sink, we stay focused on Benefits and Medicare. We certainly have strategic partners for other insurances and financial products that we refer our clients to.

In addition, we do not “sell” Medicare plans. Our job is to follow our back to basics process: Listen, question, learn, help design, and ultimately enroll a client in the correct plan. By utilizing a consultative process, there simply is no selling.

Our clients know that the process does not end right after enrolling in plans. It is important to clients that we are available all year.  We are not a transaction-oriented business, we want our clients to be friends of the Agency. By having constant contact with people, they know that they can reach out to us at any time, and they appreciate our reminders to utilize benefits. One of April’s rules is that Reps have cell numbers on their business cards.  She says: “People don’t just have issues 9-5, People have problems after 5 pm and on weekends.  It is very gratifying to know you helped someone on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon!”

Over the past seven months, we made sure to regularly reach out to clients via emails, postcards, and even regular mail. With the COVID-19 shutdown, many folks were feeling isolated, and it was important that we let them know we are here!

We believe that our process is ever-evolving and retooling to be the best possible Medicare Reps that we can be.  We encourage feedback from our clients so that we add things to the process so that Hartloff Benefit Solutions LLC becomes even better., making the process easier for those currently in Medicare and those soon to enroll in Medicare.

Hartloff Benefits Solutions LLC is located at 7000 Seneca St, Elma, NY. They can be reached at 716-655-5901. For more information, please visit www.hartloffbenefits.com.

Brenda Babe Bridal Celebrates Anniversary with New Collections and Exciting Promotion

Brenda Babe Bridal Celebrates Anniversary with New Collections and Exciting Promotion

Brenda Babe Bridal, located at 695 Main Street (rear) in East Aurora, NY.is pleased to make some exciting announcements in celebration of the shoppe’s two-year anniversary.

The shoppe, which features wedding dresses “for the uniquely fabulous bride-to-be”, focuses on celebrating the “inner babe” of the clients it serves through a true one-on-one individualized experience. Since the shoppe is open “by appointment”, every appointment is just that-a totally private shopping session for the bride-to-be and her guests.

“The bridal industry, specifically right here in Western New York, is in a unique and transformative time right now,” stated Brenda Mikolajczak, the shoppe’s owner.  “The COVID crisis has certainly impacted many facets of our industry, causing couples to re-imagine their big day into more non-traditional celebrations of love. The demand for truly unique wedding dresses that capture the individual style and personality of the bride-to-be is steadily increasing and we are thrilled to be able to accommodate these evolving trends with the carefully curated collections that I personally select from our fabulous designers. As part of our two-year anniversary celebration, we are thrilled to add a size-inclusive bridal separates collection and bridesmaids dresses to our current designer lines to further accommodate the specific needs of our brides-to-be.”

In addition to expanding dress options for both brides and bridesmaids, Brenda Babe Bridal is also running an exciting promotion, offering brides-to-be who “Say Yes” during the month of November, $100.00 off of the purchase of their special order wedding dress. Full details on all of the “Brenda Babe-Tastic” anniversary promotions can be found at brendababebridal.com.

In these uncertain times, Brenda Babe Bridal is committed to reassuring brides-to-be that their search for the perfect dress should still be a memorable and enjoyable experience. The shoppe is set up to accommodate private appointments only, in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, following CDC guidelines for the health and safety of employees and guests.

Brenda Babe Bridal is open “by appointment”.  Contact the shoppe at 655.LOVE(5683) or visit brendababebridal.com to schedule an individualized shopping experience.

About Brenda Babe Bridal, LLC
Brenda Babe Bridal, LLC is a bridal shoppe located at 695 Main Street (rear) in East Aurora, NY. serving brides throughout Western New York and the surrounding communities, Say YES to the perfect dress and rock your inner babe at Brenda Babe Bridal. Featuring designer gowns and accessories to capture your individual style-from simple to sassy, and classic to contemporary. Also dresses for moms, bridesmaids, galas, destination weddings and encore brides.  Additional information about Brenda Babe Bridal is available at www.brendababebridal.com.

Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center Needs Your Help!

Please Match The Match!

Please help Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center Match the Match to support our program horses!

Due to Covid-19, Lothlorien’s ONLY annual fundraiser – the Boots and Bling Barn Dance – will not be held this year.

“We are sad and disappointed that we will not be able to host our amazing community of supporters for a night that is all about Lothlorien, the riding center that gives so much to so many people,” Katie Macre said.

“We know there are people like you in our community who have ALWAYS stepped up to help. One such individual has pledged a match donation of $25,000 if we are able to raise at least $25,000 to Match the Match!”

The Lothlorien horses need YOU more than ever to help us reach this goal, so we ask that you consider giving back to these horses that give us so much.

Donate online at www.lothlorientrc.org, or by phone 716-655-1335.

42 North Brewing Company opens new Ellicottville location

42 North Brewing Company opens new Ellicottville location

The Outpost to feature Barrel-Aged Beers and special events.

42 North Brewing Company’s robust catalog of Barrel-Aged beers will be coming to Ellicottville as the brewery has partnered with Ellicottville Coffee Company to establish “The Outpost”. The Outpost, located at 16 Washington Street, is adjacent to Adventure Bound and the Ellicottville Coffee Company.

Barrel-aged bottle connoisseurs and craft beer lovers looking for new and exciting beers from 42 North Brewing will be able to purchase beers to-go ranging from funky barrel-aged projects to the great local staples as well as select brands from other regional breweries. 42 North will also host sampling events and special beer releases during the weekends at the Outpost.

The Outpost – EVL officially opens on Friday, September 18th. In addition to featuring 42 North beers, The Outpost will also serve as an information hub for hiking, biking and skiing maps, daily fishing suggestions, the best local kayak put-ins, and more.

For 42 North and the Ellicottville Coffee Company, The Outpost is a great space to ‘fuel your adventure” while experiencing the great outdoors in Ellicottville. “As 42 North continues to produce more barrel-aged products, we needed to expand our footprint so more folks in the region could experience these styles of beers,” says 42 North Founder, John Cimperman.

Of the partnership with Ellicottville Coffee Company, Cimperman says, “We share a passion for adventure, we love the outdoors, and have always viewed Ellicottville as an important market for the brewery. The opportunity to work with John Rounds and his team was a natural.”

42 North Brewing Company, based in East Aurora, has had a strong presence in Ellicottville since being founded in 2015. 42 North can be found on draft at most bars and restaurants in Ellicottville and is also proud to brew the Gin Mill Lager for Ed and Maribeth Rick at the Gin Mill.

Customers can view product availability and pre-order at www.theoutpost42n.com. For hours and more information 42 North Brewing Company and “The Outpost”, log on to www.42northbrewing.com

2020 Taste of East Aurora brings a new twist to an annual foodie favorite

2020 Taste of East Aurora brings a new twist to an annual foodie favorite

Taste of EA Restaurant Week begins Sept. 21 

Once again, the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce is thinking outside the box to reinvent its annual events in an effort to help local businesses survive the pandemic.

First, it was the 2020 Virtual Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale.

Now the Chamber is putting its resources behind a new spin on its annual Taste of East Aurora foodie festival: Introducing the new Taste of East Aurora Restaurant Week, Sept. 21 – Sept. 26. 

The Chamber will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17 on The Roycroft Campus, across from The Roycroft Inn, 40 South Grove Street in East Aurora, to discuss details on the Taste of East Aurora Restaurant Week. Attending will be local officials, chamber representatives, and some participating food vendors. There will also be a small sampling of some of the foods available.

“So many festivals and special events have been canceled this year and the effect on local communities is crushing. Our mission as a chamber is to support and promote our members – as well as all of the communities we serve,” said Sandy Grunzweig, Chamber Board of Directors President and owner of the Marilla Country Store. 

“Businesses are still hurting, most especially our local restaurants. Canceling our annual Taste of East Aurora was not an option we wanted to consider. So instead of throwing in the towel, we worked hard to reinvent it. Instead of a one-day festival along Main Street, we’re inviting people to come and experience our fantastic restaurants first hand for an entire week. We have more than 25 restaurants participating this year and they are ready to welcome you,” she said.

This new weeklong event will take place at participating area restaurants starting Monday, Sept. 21, and running through Saturday, Sept. 26.

“As we wade through these unprecedented times, it makes me so proud to live and work in East Aurora. The restaurant community here has taken extraordinary measures to not only guarantee the safety of our guests but to ensure that every person dining in our town has the

great hospitality experience for which we have become famous,” said Dan Garvey, Inn Manager of the Roycroft Inn. The Roycroft Inn is a sponsor of the Taste of East Aurora Restaurant Week.

“It will be so wonderful to have this new Taste of East Aurora for all of Western New York to enjoy. As Elbert Hubbard said, ‘East Aurora isn’t a place, it is a State of Mind’.”

Like typical restaurant week events, each participating restaurant is offering diners a special Taste of East Aurora Menu for those six days only. Menus cover a wide range of options and prices – choose from $10, $20, or $30 options.

Restaurant Week menus are available on our Participating Restaurants web page.

Also, visit the Taste of East Aurora’s Facebook page for daily updates from the Chamber and participating restaurants. Please note that some menus may change throughout the week of Sept. 21 to Sept. 26.

We are proud to have this event sponsored by several of our local businesses: Absolut Care Aurora Park – Title Sponsor; West Herr Buick GMC Cadillac of East Aurora and Bee Group Newspapers – Presenting Sponsors; and the following Supporting Sponsors – Fieldstone Private Wealth, Greater Erie Federal Credit Union, The Roycroft Inn, Tops Markets, and UPD Dental Associates.

For more information on this event or the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce, the chamber at 652-8444 or eachamber@eanycc.com.

 

River Spring Lodge completes industry-leading cleaning protocol through “Select Safe, Stay Select” initiative

New Heightened Cleaning & Safety Standards Guided by Industry Leaders, Public Health Officials in Response to COVID-19

River Spring Lodge in Darien Center has earned Select Safe, Stay Select branding from Select Registry Distinguished Inns of North America. The industry-leading set of health and safety guidelines was designed to prepare the collection of our nation’s best inns to safely reopen for guests and employees alike.

Select Safe, Stay Select is a self-certification program based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Travel Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association, and other industry leaders. It is designed to aid inn owners and staff in communicating to travelers the various enhanced cleaning, sanitation, and operational procedures that are being undertaken to protect guests and staff in the era of COVID-19. Select Registry inns have been recognized as the most distinguished inns across North America for decades, with each having passed the industry’s leading inspection program, covering everything from cleanliness to hospitality and ensuring guests the comfort and professionalism they expect from a trusted brand.

Select Safe, Stay Select was designed to allow Distinguished Inns of North America owners to further differentiate their brand on the basis of quality,” said Select Registry CEO Mark Jaronski. “While all of our inns are held to the highest standards of cleanliness and hospitality, this new initiative enables our small business owners to communicate an enhanced commitment to safety and cleanliness with confidence and clarity.”

“As innkeepers, our greatest concern is the safety of our guests, our employees, and of course each other,” said Inn owner Chef David Hamer. “We take the responsibility of the public’s trust to provide a safe, comfortable, and memorable stay very seriously. We prayerfully pondered keeping the inn closed until a vaccine was widely available. But as we read the guidelines of the CDC, discussed reopening with County and State health officials, and studied the enhanced safety protocols of the Stay Safe, Select Safe program we became convinced we could reopen safely. River Spring Lodge is now providing completely contactless overnight getaways with private, in-room, Five-Course Wine Dinners for a few couples each evening while serving a few local diners on socially distanced tables in our dining room without sacrificing the exceptional quality River Spring’s stellar Five-Star reputation is built upon.”

Reservations can be made online at https://riverspringlodge.com/couples-escapes-2/ or by calling the inn at 585.708.4212.

Select Safe Stay Select guidelines can be found at https://selectregistry.com/select-safe-stay-select/. Despite enhanced safety practices, an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public space where people gather.

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