Message from A.J. Baynes
As the days become longer and the regulations imposed on businesses are lifted, it is exciting to see what great potential lies ahead for the business community. A recent market study from CBRE confirmed what we have been seeing and hearing from our Chamber members throughout 2021: office and retail vacancies were moving in the right direction.

We welcomed many new members during 2021 in the retail sector that saw an opportunity to start and grow their business. Also, we worked with many business owners in helping to develop their plan to safely bring their workers back to the office and strategized on the workforce of the future, hybrid scheduling, or a complete remote schedule for certain employees. While the initial reaction was a fully remote workforce for the future, it is not feasible or applicable in every industry. Many employers are still very much focused on creating culture, creativity, and inspiring professional growth. While office vacancies are down from their 2020 numbers of 13.5% to 12.8%, we must remain vigilant, ensuring this trend continues with close to one million more square feet coming online.

We hope that New York State does its part in this upcoming budget season to encourage job creation and not hinder business owners with additional regulations or fees. One area of particular interest for all businesses where rates have gone up is Unemployment Insurance. Unfortunately, the pandemic and many of the regulations that New York State imposed during that time led unemployment to record highs, thus depleting the state’s unemployment fund. As a result, employers today are being asked to pay the highest allowable rates to fund the outstanding loan balance of 9.3 billion dollars. That is why the Chamber signed onto a letter spearheaded by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) along with nearly 50 other chambers and business advocacy organizations asking New York State to use a portion of their unspent federal funds to replenish this deficit. New York State would not be alone in making such a contribution as 32 other states have already done this in providing relief to their businesses. We will always remain committed at the Chamber to ensure we are doing our part representing your business when it comes to burdensome regulations and fees.

Next month we will host our first ever professional development symposium in conjunction with Daemen College and sponsored by National Grid and our Emerging Business Leaders. This half-day event is encouraged for all Chamber members and non-members to attend if you are looking to think outside the box regarding:
  • workplace culture
  • increasing your brand within your organization and
  • improving your workplace communications.

Daemen College has graciously afforded us the opportunity to learn from some of the most forward-thinking individuals in our area. The fee is nominal, and there will be a brief cocktail reception for networking afterward; I hope everyone can join us. You can register here.

This month one of our most popular Lunch Mobs of the year is taking place, Tuesday, March 15, at The Irishman in the Village of Williamsville to kick off Saint Patrick’s Day week here in Buffalo. The hospitality at The Irishman is always great, but they really bring their A-Game this time of year. I hope you will join us by registering here. That week there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy all that our region offers while we are showcased on the national stage with NCAA March Madness Basketball tournament rounds one and two here in Buffalo. Our region has always done an incredible job supporting this event, and I want to acknowledge the fantastic work that Patrick Kaler and the team at Visit Buffalo Niagara do, ensuring everyone who visits understands just what a treasure our community is. I encourage everyone to visit their favorite restaurant during the weekend or enjoy the parades in downtown Buffalo and the first ward taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

In closing, I want to thank everyone who joined us for our Virtual State of the Town Address and 2022 Board of Director Installation. We greatly appreciate the support of our members, investors, and the input provided by the board over the past year, and we are encouraged at the opportunity to gather next year for what is always a very popular event. If you missed our virtual event, you can view it here.

If there is ever anything more you feel the Chamber should be doing, please do not hesitate to reach out and remember my door is always open.
NFIB Letter for NYS to replenish the Unemployment Insurance fund
Annual Meeting &
State of the Town of Amherst Address
February 2022
March is Women's History Month
Women in History
from Buffalo, NY

Did you know?
2022 Event Highlights
The Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution and others join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.
EBL Hosted Symposium
Sponsored by Daemen College & National Grid
April 1, 2022
For your Consideration

April 27th (11am-2pm)
  • Companies from the eight counties of WNY are invited to have a virtual booth at the career fair, interact with candidates, collect resumes, host interviews, and, most importantly, hire great candidates. Learn more and reserve your spot.
March is nutrition month.
Making small changes in your daily diet can make a big impact on long term health. Not only can these small changes save on calories, but they can increase your nutrient intake and keep you fuller longer. Pick one thing this month and make a change. Here are some ideas to get you started: drink more water and less sugary drinks, commit to half plate healthy, add more fiber like berries each day, or commit to whole unprocessed foods a few days a week. 

Whole Health Nutrition
For those with a love for food and an interest in the power of the human body, this presentation outlines good nutrition and how it can help promote optimal health. Learn about macronutrients, how proper nutrition is fuel for the brain and that good choices are key to athletic performance.
Accenture Inclusion & The Power of Diversity | Accenture
We are all human.
Congratulations to our Board of Director's
Power 250 Recognition
Services Include:

  • Advertising & Training
  • Transportation Research & Analysis
  • Business Consulting
  • Recruiting
  • Resume Services
Independent Health is proud to offer Brook+, a year-long lifestyle change program designed to help our members improve their overall health, achieve a healthy weight and lower their risk of Type 2 diabetes. Brook+ is available as a covered benefit with a $0 member cost share under all of Independent Health’s Commercial and Medicare Advantage plans.

Through fully digital delivery and on-demand content, Brook+ provides eligible participants with the tools and health coaching they need to help them make realistic and sustainable lifestyle changes, such as losing 5% of their body weight and increasing their activity level to 150 minutes per week.

Users can engage with Brook+ anytime from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or computer. No classrooms or clinic visits are necessary. Instead, it can all be done from the comfort and convenience of one’s home. Plus, Brook+ participants receive:

·       One-on-one guidance from a personal Health Coach
·       Access to group support for encouragement, sharing ideas and celebrating success
·       A digital scale and fitness tracker to track their progress in the program and beyond

Prediabetes is a serious health condition
Prediabetes affects 1 in 3 American adults, but most people don’t even know they have it. Without action, prediabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. As a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program, Brook+ can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58%.

Independent Health members can check their risk for prediabetes and find out if they meet the program’s eligibility requirements by visiting the Brook+ website.
Member success story
Since Brook+ was introduced a year ago, more than 5,000 of your friends and neighbors in Western New York have joined the program, losing nearly 20,000 pounds, increasing their energy, and improving their bloodwork. Jonathan Lawrence of Kenmore is among the participants who have experienced a significant improvement in their health thanks to the program. Watch Jonathan share his Brook+ success story by clicking here.
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Amherst Chamber of Commerce
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