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Business Unusual

– MaryAnne Williams; Executive Director of GBCC.

Baldwinsville is a truly exceptional community and 2020 has been an example of how we work together, particularly in times of crisis.

Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) membership consists of individuals, businesses, churches, civic groups, and other organizations, and it was heartening to see these entities cooperating during the shutdown to try and keep everyone and everything afloat.

I am always particularly impressed by the businesses that collaborate with other businesses, even when they are technically competitors. They understand that by working together, they all benefit.

I am also amazed by how many businesses or organizations so quickly adapted to operating during a shutdown. No one had the luxury of time; they just charged forward and did what they had to do. And nothing communicates optimism and confidence like starting a new business during a pandemic, and we had several open in Baldwinsville!

COVID-19 has certainly brought many changes to the GBCC.

We are an independent organization that is completely member funded; contrary to popular belief, we are not under the umbrella of the village government and we do not receive any funds from the village, either town, or any other government entity or agency. When all of New York went into shutdown in March, we wanted to support our members as much as possible and we paused all dues billing for 60 days. Because we run a very lean organization and rely on events such as the B’ville Big Chill to supplement the membership dues, we could continue to provide benefits to members and to the greater Baldwinsville community even though our income plummeted to zero.

We are operating differently these days as GBCC, like everyone else. We are not having in person events but are keeping members connected through online gatherings; it is very important to us that we lead by example and not provide events where community spread of COVID-19 can occur. An unfortunate casualty was the Taste of B’ville, scheduled for September 2019. We always saw it as our reward for working hard in spring and summer to flatten the curve, but we finally realized that we couldn’t put attendees and vendors at personal or financial risk and canceled the event for 2020. We are planning a Baldwinsville food and beverage event/contest to take place September 20-27, and are already planning for Taste of B’ville 2021.

Fill the Meter.

People often see joining a chamber of commerce as a way to instantly boost their business. But membership in a chamber of commerce or any organization is like a health club membership; if you purchase a membership to a health club but never go, do you then blame the health club when you don’t lose weight or get fit? Those members who make the time to participate in our activities are the ones who make the connections, who build the relationships, who get their name out in the community, and who learn from other members. And all of those actions are possible even during a pandemic.

-MaryAnne Williams

Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce

36 Oswego Street, Suite 206

Baldwinsville, NY 13027

315.638.0550

baldwinsvillechamber@gmail.com

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