Message From The President
Suburban Chamber With A Regional Vision
We recently held one of our signature events, The Event, in Downtown Buffalo. Many people asked us why the Amherst Chamber of Commerce would hold an event in the city. We were also questioned why we honored firms that weren't based in the Town of Amherst. There are multiple reasons for both of these decisions.
About ten years ago, we noticed we were receiving requests from businesses not located in our town to join our Chamber. While we always encourage firms to join their local chamber, many were looking for specific services we provided so we welcomed them. Consequently, we currently have member firms located in 107 different zip codes from across the region. Simultaneous to this trend, we began receiving requests to serve in a leadership capacity on regional initiatives. I remember my first call from then County Executive, Dennis Gorksi to serve as the only suburban representative on his newly formed Regionalism Committee. We played a role in County Executive Joel Giambra's and Chris Collins's Transition Teams and are currently working with County Executive Mark Poloncarz on a number of economic development issues. Our interface at the county level does not preclude us from working with the Amherst Town Board - it enhances our ability to reach consensus on outcomes that benefit the entire region.
We are truly a Suburban Chamber with a Regional Vision. When I travel out of the area and someone asks were I am from, I respond - Buffalo. When I cheer for our football team - it is the Buffalo Bills. As a member of the WNY Regional Economic Development Council, I represent the region, not just Amherst. We are growing as a region and we will thrive as a region. Redevelopment in our urban core as well as our first ring suburbs and rural communities is necessary for regional sustainability. Working together, Western New York has a bright future. So, when we are identifying individuals and firms that work to strengthen our economy and provide a higher quality of life, we don't care what zip code they are located in - we want to recognize their commitment to excellence.
While we would certainly like to host our event in Amherst, availability and capacity is an issue. Our anticipated attendance is 400 or more and we have few options within our borders and most times their full capacity is unavailable. But, we are one region and the Amherst Chamber of Commerce will continue to service businesses that can benefit from those services.