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Photo and story by Alice Gerard
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce now has new office space at 2680 Grand Island Blvd., which, according to Chamber President Eric Fiebelkorn, will encourage “community building for our membership and even for some folks that are not members but are community organizations that support us.”
The new offices include “a nice conference area, plus new offices. It’s set up for 30 – 50 people to have a meeting or an assembly. We have a lot of technology, and we are going to service our membership with it.”
The membership of the Chamber of Commerce includes businesses in the community or businesses that support or sell to the community, Fiebelkorn said. “For instance, my business isn’t located here, but we have a representation, and we work with a bunch of customers here. Community groups, not for profits, like Lions and Rotary. Individuals can actually be members. They just aren’t voting members on certain items. But they are members, and they have a say and an ability to integrate with us. Our events almost always welcome nonmembers. We just charge a fee, where a member might have a decreased or no fee. We really have our arms open. We want to have in our group anyone who wants to make our community better.”
Events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce include the Citizen of the Year award. The awards dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls, 401 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls. The Chamber also creates and puts out the annual Community and Visitors Guide. In addition, the Chamber works together with the Grand Island Central School District to create Gizmo, which “provides scholarships to students in all facets of career orientation or college or going into the trades. It’s a scholarship to encourage kids on the next step of life” Fiebelkorn said. The annual Kid Biz is also a collaborate effort between the Chamber of Commerce and Island schools.
“KidBiz was actually a great success for us this year. I think it’s 25 years now. This year was the biggest one we’ve had. It was really encouraging coming out of COVID. We didn’t know what we would see after losing it for a couple of years. The kids had a great time. We had great weather, which doesn’t hurt. The schools are excellent partners in this venture,” Fiebelkorn said.
“We do a myriad of other things: ribbon cuttings, business counseling and coaching, seminars. Anything that we can find that’s a value to our community,” Fiebelkorn explained.