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Chamber Membership Meeting Notes

Ellicottville merchants discuss unique ways to celebrate Easter this year. Plus: the Town's virtual birthday party; helping others; downtown coupon book
Cupcaked is offering Easter cookie decorating kits that families can enjoy at home
Cupcaked, Ellicottville, NY

Members of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce met earlier this morning (Wednesday, April 8th) via ZOOM to discuss ideas that the Ellicottville businesses can collectively participate in, including Easter activities, supporting outside organizations in need, and a new promotional piece that would not only push ski pass sales for next season to our local resorts, but would encourage downtown business traffic as well.

 

EASTER PROMOTIONS

Barb Pump, project development manager for the Ellicottville Chamber, welcomed meeting participants and started the meeting off with the topic of Easter.  Due to the temporary closures of most businesses and social distancing in place, this year’s Easter celebrations in Ellicottville will require some creative thinking.  As Pump explained, “Some of our merchants are already offering specials via pre-order, shipping, and curbside pick-up. Watson’s Chocolates has special chocolate baskets to celebrate the holiday, Ava Grace Fashions is offering Send-a-Smile gift packages, the Winery is putting together a Survival Package, Villaggio has Stock the Freezer, and Cupcaked is selling Easter cookie decorating kits that families can enjoy at home.”

If any Chamber member business is planning to offer a special over the Easter holiday - whether it be Easter dinner curbside pick-up, a gift card deal, etc., they are asked to contact the Chamber right away so that Chamber staff can get the information out to the public. Once collected, the Chamber will post all participating promotions on their website and social pages (ellicottvilleny.com / @ellicottvillenewyork)

Another suggestion presented by Pump was the idea of doing an Easter Egg Hunt for kids, drive-by style.  Local businesses would place Easter eggs in their storefronts, and families can safely hunt for eggs from the safety and comfort of their vehicle.  As Pump stated, “Other communities are doing something similar; it’s a great way for kids to get out of the house and do something fun by searching for and counting up how many eggs they can find in the windows.”

Pump also suggested to merchants an opportunity to host a pop-up shop, a promotion organized through long-time Chamber member Sysco Foods. The basic concept is like a grocery store for your business. Choose certain items that you think will sell.  You can do it virtually by taking pictures and uploading to your website or social media page. Viewers can comment/purchase, then obtain by curbside pick-up.  Pump advised members who are interested in learning more can contact her directly (barb@ellicottvilleny.com).

 

FROM JESSICA’S DESK

Jessica Wallace, membership coordinator, encouraged members who have something going on - whether it be a special offer or a “feel-good” news item - to contact her and she will be happy to create graphics or do a brief write-up to post on the Chamber’s Facebook page.  Wallace gave the example of Tina Dillon, realtor for Howard Hanna, who recently purchased and donated meals from stockthefreezer.com to the health care workers at Salamanca Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. (Look for Wallace’s article about this to be posted soon.)

Wallace also commented that the Chamber is incorporating “National Days” as a fun way to help promote our local businesses and keep the community connected.  Ex: yesterday was National Beer Day.  She encourages anyone who has suggestions for this type of spotlight, to contact her directly (info@ellicottvilleny.com).

 

VIRTUAL BIRTHDAY PARTY

The Town of Ellicottville is celebrating 200 years next Monday, April 13th.  A special Birthday Party was originally planned for that day, however, due to the current situation, some adjustments have recently been made, and the party has been pushed up to tomorrow (Thursday, April 9th) via ZOOM. In an announcement provided to the Chamber by Bicentennial Committee leader Dawn Westfall, “Creative minds have come up with a way to still celebrate Ellicottville’s 200th birthday. Put on your pioneer costume and join us online this Thursday at 4:00 p.m. to say Happy Birthday Ellicottville!”  (To join the ZOOM celebration, contact the Ellicottville Chamber for the meeting ID#.)

In addition, Villaggio and Cupcaked are teaming up to get birthday cake passed around as a curbside pick-up option tomorrow for local folks.

The ZOOM celebration will be recorded and will tie into a special video that is featuring drone footage shot this past Monday in the village by Spencer Timkey. The recap video will be released on the Town’s actual birthday, Monday, April 13th.

 

HELPING OTHERS IN NEED

Frank Maduri (Monroe St. Brick & Brew) suggested to the group that the local businesses come together to help organizations in the area. He suggested this could be done by having each business donate a couple $100 and putting it towards programs, meals, supplies, etc. to nursing homes, food pantries or organizations that provide support to households with low income.  Brian McFadden, executive director of the Chamber, expressed that this sounds like a great idea, and pointed out that Sysco is currently delivering several pallets of food items to various food pantries in the area, including the Ellicottville Food Pantry.  Kendra Pitillo (Villaggio) said she can reach out to Tina Zerbian of Cattaraugus Community Action to see if they are in need of supplies, or if they have a list of other organizations that would benefit.

Bill Finnerty (Finnerty’s Tap Room) mentioned that his restaurant gave away 50 meals last weekend to first responders as a way to say thank you to those individuals working the front lines. He mentioned that there may be families or other groups out there that could use a meal, but may not want to necessarily be public about needing it.  In response to this, Annie Coe (Cupcaked) suggested that one way this could work, as she has seen in other communities, is that food banks have been giving out boxes. In each box is a letter that tells the box holder if they are interested in a hot dinner, to bring the letter to the designated establishment on a designated date and they will receive a free meal.

 

COUPON BOOK

Spencer Timkey (The Boardroom Snowboard Shop) brought up another idea, which he says has been floating around in his head since Mardi Gras Weekend … a coupon book.  The idea: Consumers who purchase a season pass to our local ski resorts would be given, free of charge, a coupon book filled with offers from all the local businesses, as a way of giving back to our visitors and encouraging them to frequent the downtown business district.

The key, as explained by Timkey, is to have all the businesses onboard, offering some sort of substantial savings or promotion, whether it be 25% off your food bill, buy one get one retail, or in the case of Timkey’s snowboard shop, half off tuning.

Jane Eshbaugh (Holiday Valley), offered to pay for the printing of the coupon books, if the project is accepted and moves forward.  Timkey suggested printing the booklet on perforated cardstock, so that merchants can track the use of coupons at their establishment at the end of the year.

As Timkey described it, “The point is to drive pass sales at our resorts, and in turn, push traffic downtown. The coupon book incentivizes skiers to get off the hill and frequent our downtown businesses.”

The overall response to the coupon book idea was encouraging, with Bill Finnerty suggesting that they set up a committee if there is interest to move forward with the project.

Brian McFadden commended meeting participants for all the great ideas and informed participants that another meeting will be held in two weeks (April 22nd) to discuss these ideas further, as well as to discuss the schedule of summer events.

Barb Pump concluded the meeting informing members that if anyone has any questions or would like more information about the SBA loans being made available to small businesses, Christina Smith of M&T Bank has offered her assistance.  Business owners are welcome to contact her directly at the bank, 716-699-2341.