Erie County Bicentennial Continues with Celebration of African American Heritage in WNY

Roycroft Campus to feature free program with music and speakers on August 25 on its Great Lawn

The Roycroft Campus to host the third event in the EC200 Heritage Commemoration Series on Wednesday, Aug. 25. The free event will be a celebration of African American Heritage in WNY featuring a musical performance by the George Scott Big Band along with speakers discussing African-American heritage in WNY with a focus on the Michigan Street Corridor.

The event will take place on the Roycroft Campus’ Great Lawn from 6 – 8 PM at 31 South Grove St. in East Aurora. Gates open at 5:30 PM.

“The third installment of the EC200 Heritage Commemoration Series will provide a great evening of music and education centered on African American heritage in WNY and the Michigan Street corridor’s prominent role in it. This is a wonderful program and one that will be enjoyed by all in attendance,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.  “I commend the EC200 planning committee for the work they put in to present these summer commemoration series events and I thank the Roycroft Campus for being such gracious and accommodating hosts for the series as well.”

“We are thrilled with the continued success of Erie County’s Bicentennial programs on the Campus this summer,” stated Curt Maranto, Executive Director of the Roycroft Campus.  “The Roycroft was founded on the ideals of individuality, inclusivity and community; it is an honor to celebrate our rich and diverse culture in Western New York, while also providing opportunities for new audiences to experience the Roycroft’s history and legacy.”

“On behalf of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission, I would like to thank our County Executive and the organizers of the Erie County 200 for including our founding cultural anchors, the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Nash House, the Colored Musicians Club and Museum, and the WUFO Black Radio History Collective, in celebrating our great county,” added Terry Alford, Executive Director of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission. “The Commission serves as the connector of the past, present and future of those historic neighborhoods within and beyond our Corridor.  The Commission, along with the anchors to be featured at the Roycroft Campus on August 25th, endeavors to integrate the cultural significance and historic impact made by African Americans in not just the City of Buffalo, but throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Region. This outstanding event will allow us to share a bit of the history interwoven into the fabric of the Corridor as well as the vision for its future.”

In addition to a musical performance by the George Scott Big Band, the evening will include a brief introduction by Terry Alford, Executive Director of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission; remarks from Lillie Wiley-Upshaw & Rachel Henderson, Chair & Board Member of the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, who will be speaking on the history of the Michigan Street Baptist Church; Sharon Holley, President of the Michigan Street Preservation Corporation, who will speak on the Nash House Museum, and Sheila Brown, Owner of WUFO Radio and founder of the WUFO Black Radio History Collective, will wrap up the presentation.

Flying Bison Brewing Company will be onsite offering beer tastings, and the Roycroft Inn will be open for additional food/beverage.

Attendees should bring their own blankets/chairs and may also bring their own refreshments; please observe a carry-in/carry-out policy for food/trash. This event is presented by the office of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and is hosted by the Roycroft Campus.

Three local Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalitions join forces

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 CoalitionFOCUS; 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. 

2021 Chamber’s Choice Awards

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:

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

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

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