As good as 2017 was, 2018 will be even better!

The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce has had an astounding 2017, offering many new member benefits, while bringing on some new and exciting events.

Let’s start with some of our “perennials.” As usual, this is the season when our Chamber Checks activity is kicked into high gear. This year looks like it might be a record breaker when it comes to participation and sales of this great gift giving opportunity – and shop local program.

During 2017, our annual events surpassed in both participation as well as attendance starting with our Annual Celebration in early 2017 at the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Gloversville. A truly beautiful event with more compliments than I can mention. This year’s Chamber Celebration is set to be held at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts on January 19. It is sure to be a fun and exciting event to please everyone. Our Annual State of the Counties events last January and March were well attended and 2018 promises the same informative events, starring Fulton County Administrator Jon Stead and Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort. Get details on these events on our website and Facebook page, as well as our every Monday email newsletter Chamber Connections (specifically for Chamber members) for details.

One new event for 2017 was “Shop, Sip & Savor” which was held this past November at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts was hugely successful with a sellout crowd of over 300 people. This is a perfect example of providing our member vendors with an opportunity to sell and promote their goods in a beautiful venue while also engaging the public in a Chamber event. Next year’s event is sure to be even bigger and better.

During 2017 we also hosted seminars that were relevant to all of our member businesses including several on the use of Social Media for businesses, notary public workshops and the very important topic of how to comply with the new Fulton County bed tax. Another new seminar held in 2017 was a topic that impacts many businesses, about the Opioid Crisis and how to deal with the issue as an employer and business owner. In addition, our health insurance partner, Bouchey & Clarke Benefits, provided a standing-room only crowd with some timely and important information on the new Paid Family Leave Act in New York State and its effect on our employers. We also held, for the second time in a few years, a very successful four-part series on microenterprise business training. This series went along with microenterprise grants that were available for Amsterdam city businesses. These events, along with our Business Expo, Small Business Advocacy days in Albany, other informational breakfasts, and with our collaboration with Fulton-Montgomery Community College, TEDxFMCC 2018 and April’s Job Fair at the college, are just a few examples of resources that we continually bring to our members.

And 2018 looks to be even better with our new and returning programs. After a short hiatus, we will be bringing back our popular “Eggs and Issues” events where staff visits different parts of the region to give our members a face-to-face opportunity to discuss any business issues. There will be four next year, beginning in Western Montgomery County, followed by Amsterdam/Eastern Montgomery County in April, Johnstown/Gloversville in August and rounding up in December in Northville/Mayfield. Again, watch our website and Facebook page for details. Also returning for 2018 will be Tuesday Tours, where our members will have the opportunity to visit some of our great regional businesses and learn more about what many of our companies produce and why we should take pride in what we do right in our own backyard. If you are proud of your business and what you produce or service you provide, contact the Chamber so we can schedule one of these interesting events at your site.

Lastly, new for 2018 is a collaboration the Chamber has established with the New York State Small Business Development Center (NYSSBDC) located at State University of New York at Albany. On the third Tuesday of each month, Matthew Hosek, a business advisor from NYSSBDC will be at the Chamber offices to provide expert advice to anyone starting a business or expanding a business. This is a valuable resource that is provided absolutely free. Contact the Chamber for details – (518) 725-0641 or terrys@fultonmontgomeryny.org.

What I have mentioned in this article is just a small sampling of the wide array of programs we bring to our business members. These, along with our Business After Hours networking events, golf outing, and much more, provide value at every level for our members and their employees.

This is why the Chamber continues to be the leading voice of business in the region providing advocacy, resources and solutions for our members….and yes, maybe even a little fun.

All of us on the team at the Chamber wishes everyone a prosperous, happy and healthy New Year.

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