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.

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

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.

Annual Sidewalk Sale & Street Festival Moved Online for 2020: Chamber reinvents “Live” street event

The Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce (GEACC) will be moving its 51st Annual Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale online this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The sale, normally held the last Saturday in July along Main Street in East Aurora, will now take place virtually from Thursday, July 23 through Saturday, July 25.

This decision to cancel the live event and move it online was not made lightly. The Chamber realizes the importance of this event to so many members and other businesses in the community and we felt it necessary to carry through with an event that would help our business community and let people throughout WNY know that they can still support our local businesses.

 The Chamber reached out several times to survey past vendors on their thoughts regarding the sale. While many wanted to participate in a live sale early on, it soon became evident this was not going to be a possibility as the one day-event event draws thousands of people to the village at one time.

 Knowing this, the Chamber’s Board of Directors decided the Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale could not move forward as normal due to public safety concerns, social distancing requirements, and orders regulating large public gatherings.

“The festival has always generated tremendous business for the members and vendors who participate, so the decision to revise this year’s format was not taken lightly,” said Sandy Grunzweig, President of the GEACC Board of Directors. “After reviewing input and discussing at length, the Board of Directors made the difficult decision to move to an online format in 2020 and empowered a talented committee to develop exciting plans for this year’s event. The Chamber is working hard to ensure that participants get a positive return on their investment in supporting the 2020 online Festival.”

The Chamber will hold the extended virtual festival – which will feature vendors and entertainment – on  Facebook and will also utilize its website: www.eanycc.com.

 Attendees of the regular sale can visit some of their favorite vendors online through the Chamber’s Facebook page. People can visit the Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale Facebook event page – which is still being developed and will be linked to the Chamber’s Main Facebook page – anytime during the weeks leading up to the sale as well as during the sale itself. The Chamber will be posting a list of vendors who are participating and will be promoting them on Facebook (as well as its website) throughout the sale. Links to the vendor Facebook pages and websites will be provided as well as the schedule of vendors who are doing “live” events and/or sales via their social media.

 The Chamber will also be providing entertainment via live and recorded performances on its Facebook page as well as give out door prizes to people who visit the page regularly during the three-day sale.

 Chamber Executive Director Gary Grote said, “We know this event will not have the same results as our typical Street Festival & Sidewalk Sale but we felt it was very important for us to provide an alternative avenue for our business community to generate sales and promote themselves. The online option, over an extended period, will be an affordable, exciting tool in hopefully reaching a new market that our businesses haven’t been able to access before.” 

Vendor registration for Chamber Members Only is open now through June 22.

 Non-Member Vendor registration will open on June 23. 

All vendors may register online and pay online through the Chamber’s website or mail a registration form to the Chamber. The deadline for registration is July 9.

Spots in our virtual sale are limited. Register today!

 Sponsorships for this reimagined event are also available. For more information, please contact the chamber at (716) 652-8444 or EAChamber@eanycc.com

A Busy 6 Weeks!

With the major concerns regarding Covid-19 and its impact, the Chamber has had a very busy 6 weeks addressing issues, questions, and concerns from essential business qualifications, loans, and grants to specific issues for various businesses, both members and non-members.

Scores of people have reached out to us via phone, email, and Facebook. We, in turn, have been doing our best in reaching out to our members with calls and emails just to see how they’re holding up and if there is any way we can be of assistance.

For the most part, it’s just lending an ear of understanding and a chance to talk.

We’ve been in discussions with the Small Business Administration, local banks, elected officials, County representatives, the Small Business Development Center, and other Chambers and business organizations from across NYS to evaluate the impacts of what is transpiring and how best to address it.

As a result of circumstances, we’re also relying on virtual meetings for board and committee activities, especially networking.

We’ve had a good response to our new virtual networking, which gives people the opportunity to talk about what they’re going through while also offering ideas that they’re putting into practice which may be helpful to others.

We’ve also had speakers at these meetings talking on topics specific to loans, employment issues, and likely tax impacts for 2020 and 2021 as a result of the situation we are facing. Thes virtual networking meetings are open to any chamber member. Please contact Victoria Sturman at vsturman@eanycc.com  if you are interested in joining the next one, which will be May 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Our website (www.eanycc.com) and Facebook presence has become stronger and gained wider viewership with the increased valuable information and member postings that we continue to share in support of our members.

As we work our way through this unfamiliar territory the Chamber will be a partner with our business community in facing the challenges that will make us all stronger when we come out at the end.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
And as always, thank you for your support! Without it, our work on your behalf would not be possible.
Sincerely,
Gary Grote
Executive Director
ggrote@eanycc.com
(716) 562-8444

Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce Launches A Blog for Members

The Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce is launching a blog to help its members share information and stay connected during this challenging time.

“Several of our members have reached out to us asking the Chamber to provide this benefit and we are very excited to now be able to offer this opportunity on our website, www.eanycc.com! We look forward to seeing the interesting information our members want to share.”

“It’s our goal to provide as much engagement, connection, and promotion for our members as possible and to help them remain viable during and after the Coronavirus pandemic,” said  Victoria Sturman, Associate Director – Membership & Special Events.

The blog will be called The Principles of Greatness.

Blogging is an easy way to share business expertise with the greater community and to stay connected. And while coming up with topics could be difficult, the Chamber can help with that as well.

Member businesses are invited to submit blog articles to Chamber via email (eachamber@eanycc.com).

The articles must be 500 to 900 words and should focus on business advice and/or tips,  answer a common question, or offer advice on how to solve problems.

The article can mention services/products a business or organization offers, but the majority should focus on industry expertise.

The Chamber will also be posting articles to the blog, including current information about Covid-19, the SBA & CARES Act loans, as well as benefits being offered to members. There will also how-to articles on blogging, social media, and marketing tips to help keep your business in front of customers during this challenging time.

The Chamber’s goal is to post ONE Chamber Member blog per week. This may change, however, depending on the number of submissions. Each Chamber member may submit a blog article once per quarter (ever four months).

The Chamber will have discretion regarding what blogs are posted and will edit submissions for grammar, punctuation, and length.

Blogs should be submitted as Word Document to the Chamber via email. Members can also submit photos and logos to go along with their blog articles. These should be in high-resolution jpeg formats.

If you are a Chamber Member and would like to submit a blog, but have questions, please contact Victoria Sturman at vsturman@eanycc.com.