August 30, 2021
News, Happenings & Collaborations
Included in this Issue ...
We are pleased to share the following news, happenings, and collaborations with you! The information contained in this week's newsletter was shared with the Chamber on or before noon on the Thursday before it was sent. To have your information considered for inclusion in future issues, please submit your information on or before noon on the Thursday before you'd like it published.

To stay in the know, visit the WGACC Digital Archives. For past NHCs and now our monthly Engager, which is only mailed to each Primary Contact at our members in good standing is also in the on-line library. While you are there please feel free to review The Chamber’s 2020 Annual Report as well.

In addition, we have heard that some messages are being delivered with a link that must be clicked to see the complete newsletter. We apologize for the inconvenience and have determined that this is related to the email service provider that you use to read the newsletter. We hope you will click the link!

Highlights include the following:
  • Planning for Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions
  • Farm Trail Weekend
  • Members highlighted in media
  • Spend September with fellow
Chamber members
  • FDA approves vaccine
  • Clute Park concert: 8/31
Visit Watkins Glen
& Schuyler County
Watkins Glen
Area Chamber
Pandemic Spotlight Updates

Vigilance is the word of the day. Continue to check the CDC and State web sites for updates. Scroll down for helpful information. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date, but it is likely that there will be new updates as soon as we hit send!
NY Forward & Other Government News

  • Hero Act deadline is soon
  • Vaccine clinics
  • Join your neighbors and VaxUp
  • $800 million in grants for small businesses available
  • FEMA funds
  • Funding opps: Congressman Reed's office
Chamber News
Sending condolences

The Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce is saddened by the passing of Vic Franzese. We send the family our deepest condolences and plan a spotlight with regards to a lifetime committed to the Chamber and community in a future NHC.
Travel guide goes to the Fair

The 2021 New York State Fair opened for 18 days on August 20. Visitors can find the Watkins Glen Area Chamber's Travel Guide this year in the Center of Progress building, near the main gate entrance. This is part of our distribution of 100,000 guides. We anticipate between 1000 and 2000 guides to go off the shelves for visitors to plan trips to our area.
September schedule:
packed with networking opps!

Mark your calendar for a month-long calendar of events and have fun networking with fellow Chamber members and your community neighbors.

  • Cornhole Social (Sept. 2, 4:00pm to 7:00pm, at Toast Winery [formerly Pompous Ass Winery], Cash bar, nibbles, and Great Escape ice cream truck. Chamber members $10; Non-Members $15; visit for details and to register)
  • An evening on the Seneca Legacy (Sept. 8, 5:00pm to 7:00pm; Chamber members free; Non-Members $15; visit for details and to register) Boat leaves at 5:15pm sharp.
  • Chemung Canal Trust Company Golf Tournament (Sept. 17, 9:00am to 5:00pm; visit for details and to register)
  • Tri-County Mixer at Lakewood Vineyards (Sept. 22, 5:00pm to 7:00pm; Chamber members: $5; Non-Members/Guests $10; visit for details and to register)

Thank you to our members who are participating in the 21st Annual Donald Brubaker Memorial Golf Tournament, presented by Chemung Canal Trust Company. Also, thanks to Alternatives Federal Credit Union, who is the Photo Sponsor, and Corning Credit Union and Visions Federal Credit Union, who are hole sponsors.

If you are interested in sharing your products and services with prospective customers, consider becoming a sponsor or contributing an item to be raffled. Want to know why sponsoring events is an excellent use of marketing dollars? Check out this article. Call or email Abby Lane for options!
Time to plan for the holidays

Watkins Glen and Schuyler County can be a four-season destination. With the Seneca Lake Wine Trail's recent cancellation of both Deck the Halls weekends, this event becomes as important -- if not more important -- than it was in 2020 to get guests here and to know Schuyler County is open for business during the holidays. The second annual Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions is an umbrella event and related activities that are planned to ensure prospective guests have a reason to visit Schuyler County during the winter season to enjoy the activities as well as Mother Nature's ice sculptures formed on our many road-side waterfalls. The Chamber has hosted one meeting with area leaders. A second meeting will be held on September 1, from 2pm to 4pm, at the Chamber (214 N. Franklin St.). Please start thinking of ways you and your organization can participate in Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions. We want to promote all events and activities.

This year's Holiday Happenings & Winter Traditions will incorporate the members-only snowflake competition -- Snowflake Spectacular -- (snowflakes/info have been shared monthly in the Engager and are online) and Watkins Glen's traditional Village Christmas. The event starts with Small Business Saturday/Weekend (30 Days of Shopping Small), features a variety of holiday light activities (including the traditional "Holiday Lights - Schuyler Style" competition), and concludes with anticipated Valentine's Day events and specials. We expect to celebrate Chinese New Year on 2/2/22 at House of Hong. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. If you have any ideas, please call us.

Are you a Chamber member and will be hosting an event in November, December, January, or February? Tell us about it so we can include details in promotional materials: submit your event information here. For more information, contact Abby Lane, Events Manager.
Marketing Opportunities

As we begin thinking about fall and winter, make plans to purposefully share your message with potential guests and customers. Consider one of these marketing opportunities with the Chamber. We are happy to be partnering with the Farm Sanctuary to remind visitors of the brand-building merchandise for sale online. Sample products in a display case (pictured at right) with a QR code directing people to the online store helps to remind people of the Farm Sanctuary's mission. Other opportunities:
Window space at 214 N. Franklin Street: $125/month

Video segments at the State Park & at 214 N. Franklin: $130/month

Ask about wall displays!
Questions? Contact Executive Director Michael Hardy: or (607) 535-4300.
Big Fish. Little Lakes:
Roam the Empire campaign

Recently featured on Roam the Empire's social pages: "Watkins Glen: Little lakes, big fish! Lamoka & Waneta lakes are fantastic fisheries. Bass can be caught upwards of 7lbs & musky in the 50” range! Arrange a personal tour with Summit to Stream or Short Hook Charters!"
Media shout-outs

Congratulations to the many Chamber members mentioned in a recently published article in the Philadelphia Magazine. Produced in print and electronically, the reach surpassed two million! Many thanks to our friends at the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau for working with the writer. And, Travelers United, which hosts 100,000 unique visitors each month, published a road trip story on August 20.
Keeping secrets is not a marketing strategy.

Tell us what you're doing and we will help you spread the news. We want to share your events on our social media platforms and newsletters. Like us on all our social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), and we’ll return the favor! Using this form, ( please submit your public event to notify the Chamber and its staff. Just a reminder ... the event calendar can be printed to share with future guests. Remember to print a few days ahead of their impending arrival and a few days after to encourage longer stays. Pending membership, the Chamber will assist in promoting the event to visitors and locals alike! 
Hints from Hardy

Business and hospitality hints
from Michael Hardy

HINT 1 Budget-building
There is a time to make a budget and plan for 2022, and that time is now. As you and your team consider your budgets simultaneously you will most likely be setting your objectives and key results. Here is a helpful link from the Better Business Bureau. BBB Business Tip: How to set attainable company objectives and key results for your business - Streampage

HINT 2 DEI is a current trend that can be a long (and maybe never-ending) journey.
I promise; the journey will be worth your time! is a 4-minute YouTube video on Microaggressions. It’s a start on the DEI – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – path of exploration many of us are taking, might or should take. Please note I will be carving out space in the next four or five (or more) NHCs to educate myself and others as we all consider our commitments to DEI for ourselves, workers, and our organizations. I hope they help. I also define DEI below to ease us all into wrapping ourselves around these important, current and long lasting challenge we face in our world.

INTERRUPT RACISM — Urban League of Rochester ( is an event scheduled for September that you might want to sign up for. The site also offers many resources, tools, and educational materials that will help you familiarize yourself with efforts in DEI. Please explore at your own pace and share with people in your organization.

DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Check out the Events Calendar

Members are invited to submit events to the Chamber's online events calendar. The Chamber routinely pulls from this calendar for social posts and includes the link in appropriate news releases. Please bookmark the events page. Check it regularly for opportunities to enjoy, and remember to submit your organization's events (including a picture). If you don't have a relevant picture, upload a logo (designating it as an image, please). Want to talk this through? Call Abby (607-535-4300) or register for the next Simpleview training.
Second annual Schuyler County
Farm Trail Weekend
September 25-26, 2021

Ten of the finest farms in Schuyler County are opening to the public, offering tours, tastings, hayrides, demonstrations, apple picking, shopping, and opportunities to meet the farm animals on September 25 and September 26. This event is open to the public and a TAP-awarded project. Please make plans to attend and encourage families, friends, and visitors to do the same. The weekend event is organized by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County. Guests can purchase produce and goodies from the farms, including hand-crafted cheeses, apples, veggies, jams, cider, donuts, pies, and alpaca products. Find details online.
Guided walk in Montour Falls

Schuyler County Historian Gary Emerson is offering guided walks through historic Montour Falls on September 11. A tour of the library starts at 10am then through the village and down the Catherine Valley Trail. Call the library or check Facebook if there is inclement weather. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing. This is one of many reasons for you and your visitors to visit Montour Falls.
Award Ceremony planned

On September 11, Lyn St. James will be honored with the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports. A pioneer for women in motorsports, Lyn St. James is equally recognized for her numerous firsts and records for speed as she is for her many contributions off the track. Lyn was selected by a committee of auto racing professionals as the seventh honoree and recipient of the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award. Make plans to be at the Jack Daniel’s Club at Watkins Glen International for live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and an open bar on 9/11. Motorsports broadcast journalist Bob Varsha will be emceeing the ceremony.
Fundraiser for the Schuyler County Humane Society

Stop by Wine and Spirits on September 10 and September 11 for a tasty hot dog and help out our furry friends at the Schuyler County Humane Society. The cart will be serving up dogs from 11am to 6pm on both days. We love when members collaborate so we can share the news!
Live entertainment in Clute Park

Mark your calendar: On August 31, enjoy the rhythms of the Ageless Jazz Band. Please note the venue change to Clute Park (formerly held in Lafayette Park), where it's fun to cool down in the newly installed splash pad! Performances begin at 7:00pm. Share this news with family, friends, and visitors. Many thanks to Craig Bond with the Village of Watkins Glen for organizing this series for locals and visitors alike.
Member News & Collaborations
Updates all around

Does your organization have news to share? A promotion, a new service, a new product? New hours or location? Send us your news so we can help you share it. Looking for advertising opportunities? We have them too. If you'd like to encourage sales of your product line and/or service offerings, please contact Stephanie Specchio.
Thoughts from Clinical Associates of the Southern Tier

How do you spend your lunch break? Do you quickly eat your sandwich while staring at the screen of your phone? Do you devour a salad at your desk while typing? Or do you skip lunch altogether because you have too much to do? Sometimes working hard means we forgo our lunch break in order to get more done. However, we all need energy from calories in our food for our minds to function at their best. Taking a midday break allows you to refuel and re-energize, often making you even more productive when you return. Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith consulted workplace and career experts and compiled a list of things all workers should do during their lunch break to make the most of their time.

  • Take a deep breath to start your break to help you relax and let go of any stress.
  • Stopping for two minutes to eat at your desk doesn’t count as a real break. A true recovery break means you aren’t working, so try not to check your email or talk about work during lunch.
  • Get up and walk to another room to eat or get outside for some fresh air and a quick walk. The movement can help you clear your mind and energize your body.
  • Think of your break as time in your day to enjoy yourself. This could be enjoying your favorite healthy foods or enjoying the company of your friends or co-workers. Recovering at lunch can make you a healthier, happier and more productive person.

Source: and shared by Clinical Associates of the Southern Tier
Members partner to
prepare CNAs

Guthrie and Arnot Health healthcare systems have partnered with SUNY Corning Community College to provide Certified Nurse Aides (CNA) and Patient Care Partner training for newly hired employees, a great workforce initiative. The training program spans four weeks, with three weeks in classroom and skills lab and one week in conducting onsite clinical training. For more information, contact the HR offices at either Guthrie or Arnot Health.
Cool off in the
Finger Lakes National Forest

Need a private spot to relax and recharge? Visit the Finger Lakes National Forest. The trails are open, well-maintained, and two-way. Hike in as far as you want, breathe in some fresh air, and then head home. It's a nice break from the routine! Remember to remind our visitors about the Forest, too, and encourage them to visit the Ranger Station in Hector for details (open 24/7). It's a great way to spend the day.
Do you have visitors with children?

Consider visiting Chamber member A'maze'ing Acres for some adventure play. The facility includes lots of hands-on fun for kids, including a station to make mud pies!, as well as a hedge maze that will keep you on your toes from the entrance to the exit. Be sure to call first and schedule dedicated time for intentional play.
Growing the HIG family

Congratulations to Chamber member Higher Information Group for completing the acquisition of Twin Tier Imaging Systems (TTIS), a certified Toshiba, Lexmark, and Kyocera business equipment dealer based in Elmira. TTIS has been serving the Southern Tier of NY and the Northern Tier of PA with business equipment sales/service and copy services for over 40 years. The acquisition is a continuation of HIG’s expansion strategy in South Central New York and Northern Pennsylvania. 
Farm Sanctuary seeking youth leaders

Farm Sanctuary invites youth ages 13 to 18 to join their virtual Youth Leadership Council. As members of our virtual YLC, students:
  • Take on a leadership role in their schools and communities
  • Make a difference for farm animals, workers, communities, and the environment
  • Learn about issues of our food system
  • Engage in advocacy projects that align with their interests
  • Join a community of like-minded peers and young activists from across the country 
Congrats Kate!

Chamber member Valicenti Insurance Services, Inc., has named Kate Schermerhorn Vice President. This promotion recognizes Kate's key role in successfully growing the agency. As VP, Kate will oversee the day-to-day operations of the company, creating and optimizing workflows, training staff as well as maintaining her relationships with existing and new clients.
1 month & counting

We are just a month away from the 2021 Finger Lakes Clean Up event scheduled for September 18. Is your group ready? Have you picked the location you think needs some love? Let the Chamber know so we can share projects and teams already determined and locations that still need volunteers. Many thanks to S and R Underwater with their "tin turtle" for joining the event. More than a dozen divers, assisted by volunteers in kayaks, will be scouring Seneca Lake for garbage. This event, organized by Chamber member Bobby Kurz, will ensure that our region heads into the Fall Foliage season looking good! Stay up-to-date by checking the facebook page.
Grand Prix Festival on deck

More than 250 vehicles are registered for the Grand Prix Festival, presented by Chemung Canal on September 10, 2021. The community-wide festival is a collaborative partnership between many organizations, including Watkins Glen Promotions, Watkins Glen International, and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association. It celebrates WGI’s Vintage Race, which is scheduled for September 9 through September 12. Roaring to town after a COVID-hiatus last year, this annual community favorite features the Alfa Romeo this year. Since 1993, the Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen has celebrated our community’s heritage and intimate connection to motor racing. As in previous years, the 2021 event will serve as a tribute to the Grand Prix races, with wrap-around events including the Walk of Fame award ceremony, a historical lecture called the Legends Speak, a pre-race Tech Inspection at Smalley’s Garage, as well as several rolling events and two car shows known as the Stone Bridge Driver events. As always, the highlight of this traditional fall event is the re-enactment of the original Grand Prix race, conducted on the original 6.6 mile road course that winds through open country side and village main streets. Details online.
Registration required by tomorrow:
Walking Program kicks off

Schuyler Steps Out – the free community walking program presented by Schuyler Hospital – is back for its 15th year and will kick off in September. Open to anyone who works or lives in Schuyler County, teams must register with Schuyler Hospital by tomorrow, August 31, 2021. The program kicks off on Tuesday, September 2, 2021, with a virtual information session and will run September 6 through October 31, 2021. While many teams are workplace-based, service clubs, churches, and even scouts can form teams. All that’s required is walking daily for 8 weeks, logging steps walked, and reporting team steps to the Hospital weekly. At the end of the 8-week program, awards are given for most team steps, most valuable “players,” and most improved. 
Any and all accommodation members are welcome to share their food, entertainment, and packages with the Chamber. We will help spread the word here in our e-news and on our social media platforms and website. Please know that we do NOT have complete information on availability and openings. In most cases, we direct guests to, where they can find links to area lodgers. With this in mind, we hope you will keep your listings current and be sure to post your offers for the public and members on the WGACC Bulletin Board when you are checking out and/or updating your listing on the Simpleview Extranet.
Government News
Deadline Next Week: HERO Act Employee Notification

The HERO Act requires employers to adopt and maintain an airborne infectious disease prevention plan to be implemented when an airborne infectious disease is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health.” The deadline for communicating the existence of your plan to your employees is Saturday, September 4, 2021. Learn more about the HERO Act deadline and find sample language you can use to implement your plan.
FDA approves first COVID-19 vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Read the full story.
Grants for small businesses:
Gov. Hochul extends opportunity

The successful recovery of small businesses is key to New York State's future. The New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program is open now and provides flexible grant assistance to currently viable small businesses, micro-businesses, and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations in the State of New York who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check online for revised threshholds, eligibility requirements, and more information regarding the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Program: The program is administered by ESD and powered by Lendistry. Questions? Call 877-721-0097.
SBA PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal opens

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has opened it’s SBA PPP Direct Forgiveness Portal, that will allow borrowers to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA as opposed to applying through their lender, provided that the lender has opted in to the program. Thanks to Insero for sharing this and providing more details in their blog.
Loans available

REDEC is ready to issue small business loans of $1,000 to $15,000. Terms would be 3% for 6 years. These loans may be used for equipment, working capital, or related needs. For more information, contact REDEC directly
Non-medical private non-profits: apply for FEMA funds

Because the pandemic was declared a Major Disaster and is ongoing, public assistance is authorized for Category B Emergency Protective Measures related to the COVID-19 response. To mitigate the pandemic’s impact on nonprofits, New York State is launching a targeted initiative to provide information and training to NON-MEDICAL Private Nonprofits (PNPs) and intermediary organizations applying for FEMA funding to reimburse costs incurred as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. PNPs and their umbrella organizations are invited to FEMA overview sessions, offering an overview of the FEMA public assistance process as well as a number of COVID-19 disaster-specific topics and policies that FEMA has implemented. For more details on the initiative and related resources, please access the Grants Gateway site. To register for the informational overview, see below for next steps or access the Grants Gateway for more information.
Vaccine clinic info
In the area?
The following options are offered by Arnot Health. Those wishing to be vaccinated can register online at, call 1-800-952-2662, or take advantage of walk-in service up to 30 minutes before the end of the clinic. 
  • Every Wednesday in August, there will be a clinic at the Arnot Mall Event Center on County Route 64 in Horseheads. It runs from 10am to 5pm, with walk-ins welcome until 4:30pm. This clinic will feature all three brands of vaccine: Moderna for those 18 and older, Pfizer for those 12 and older, and the one dose Johnson and Johnson. 
Stay informed:
Interested in tracking vaccine results? Bookmark this page:
For the latest updates on news and regulations, bookmark the New York Forward webpages.
$ $ Grant info from Congressman Reed's office $ $
Add your happenings to the Public Events Calendar on our website!
Add your event quickly, easily, and at no cost. Click here for the submission page.

We will gladly feature your upcoming events and news on our social media channels and in our newsletter.
Contact Michael at (585) 721-6032 or send him your news
at by noon on Thursdays.

Office Phone: (607) 535-4300
Katherine Jack, Visitor Center and Office Administrator email
Abby Lane, Events and Membership-Engagement Manager email
Stephanie Specchio, Director of Communications and Marketing email
Kate Fuller, Marketing Consultant (Part-Time contractor) email
Michael Hardy, Executive Director email and (585) 721-6032 (cell)