Small Business Week is currently being observed in Chautauqua County. County Executive P.J. Wendel issued the proclamation Monday during a special event hosted by Ashville General Store in Ashville. Organized by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center at JCC, the celebration was designed to highlight the importance of small businesses to our local economy, pay tribute to the many small business owners and employees countywide, and also as a way to kick off the Chamber’s spring membership drive.
In addition to Wendel, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist attended along with representatives from State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell’s offices, County Legislature Chair Pierre Chagnon, as well as other local officials. Also represented were the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, and Chautauqua Works. The Small Business Development Center presented Entrepreneur of the Year Awards to Hector Alverio, owner of HotSpot Cafe in Jamestown, and to Jackie Francis, owner of Ashville General Store.
In addition, the SBDC presented a special surprise award to Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/Chief Executive Officer of the CCIDA. Mr. Geise was announced as recipient of the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery for his efforts in leading the local business community towards the production of personal protective equipment, providing vital information through the pandemic shutdown, and assisting with loan and grant programs to help local businesses recover.
Courtney Curatolo, Executive Director of the Small Business Development Association, noted that, “Mark Geise has been instrumental in so many aspects of life for our local business community during the pandemic and as we have been working our way out of it. Much of that work has been done quietly, but it is so important for the businesses in our county.”
County Executive Wendel proclaimed May 2, 2022 as “Mark Geise Day” in Chautauqua County, reading a litany of crucial projects that Geise has worked on in the past few years. “Mark has seen us through some challenging times, and has also played a key role in providing assistance to business and creating jobs. He very much deserves this honor.”
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dan Heitzenrater noted, “Small businesses are not only crucial to our local economy, they also make our communities the unique and special places that they are to live, work, and play. We are so fortunate to have hundreds of local businesspeople in Chautauqua County who are dedicated to building their businesses here and strengthening our communities.”
In recognition of Small Business Week the Chamber of Commerce kicked off its spring membership drive with a special discounted rate for new members this week. Small Businesses can join the Chamber at $45 off for the first year, and still take advantage of the full benefits of membership. For details visit the Chamber’s website at www.chautauquachamber.org or call the Chamber at (716) 484-1101 or (716) 366-6200.