ASHVILLE – Local leaders in Chautauqua County are celebrating small business week, by touting the importance of shopping local and honoring two entrepreneurs.
County Executive PJ Wendel led the celebration at the Ashville General Store on Monday.
“I, Paul M. Wendel Jr., Chautauqua County Executive, do hereby declare Sunday May 1st through Saturday May 7th of 2022 as Small Business Week in Chautauqua County. And encourage all residents to shop local and support the many small businesses in our communities that make up the backbone of our economy and are providing jobs, goods, and services to our residents,” says Wendel.
Those with the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce say the pandemic refocused consumers to support small business, as they saw their neighbors hurting.
An estimated 67 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the community, which is why those like Courtney Curatolo, from the Small Business Development Center at SUNY JCC, work to help those looking to start a new venture.
“We provide free and confidential business guidance to any small business in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, or Allegany County,” says Curatolo. “So if you need help with business plans, marketing, financial projections, budgeting, please come in and see one of our six certified business advisors.”
Two local businesses were recognized as Entrepreneurs of the Year, after competing with thousands statewide.
The awards went to Hector Alverio, owner of HotSpot Café in Jamestown, and to Jackie Francis, owner of Ashville General Store.
“I was thinking about the courage that it takes for these small businesses to put everything on the line and venture everything they have, leverage everything. And in the process of doing that, they’re helping people feed their families. They’re creating jobs, so kudos to all the small businesses out there, and all the people that make these small businesses work,” explained Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development.
The Chamber of Commerce Spring Membership Drive also kicked off Monday, and runs until June 9th. During Small Business Week, any new member can sign up with a 45 dollar discount.