Chamber pleased with feedback at first 2 ‘Coffee and Conversation’ sessions

Posted 17 January 2023 at 9:05 pm

Similar events planned Jan. 23 in Lyndonville, Jan. 30 in Kendall

By Makaila Albanese, Orleans County Chamber of Commerce

The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce recently began a series of meetings titled “Coffee and Conversation.” The goal is to have an open dialogue about the obstacles many businesses face in the area.

The Chamber’s director, Darlene Hartway, and president, David Gagne, decided that these meetings would take place in many of the towns individually, hoping to share coffee and conversation about each area’s point of view on what business owners and community members see their area facing.

“Promote, Advocate, Connect and Educate” are the four pillars of the Chamber of Commerce. Hartway and Gagne discussed how the Chamber can help with each of these as long as they are made aware of the issues that each town/village is dealing with.

Albion was the first community in the series on Nov. 29. Many of the issues that Albion faced involved their concern about safety in the downtown area. They also discussed creating a “village identity” and a “community voice.” This concern about a “community voice” was echoed in the Chamber’s second meeting that took place in Holley on Dec. 8.

When speaking of advocacy and what the Chamber can do to make sure that issues are brought to the people and agencies that can help solve them, many people shared the sentiment that there is “strength in numbers and everyone needs to stick together to face community issues as a group.”

Other issues discussed were the Orleans County fuel tax being higher than in surrounding counties, needing a local bank and grocer to draw people in to live and start businesses in Holley, and connecting with other local businesses to promote and build each other up.

Both Albion and Holley community members shared concerns about vacant buildings in their downtown areas as well as the “transient housing” which has caused issues for many local business owners and deterred some people from investing in the area.

The Chamber will continue this series of meetings in other Orleans County communities with the Lyndonville area meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. on Jan. 23, at the Webber Hotel and the Kendall area meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. on Jan. 30 at the Kendall Town Hall.

The Chamber also will host a Business Networking Event on the third Tuesday of each month from 8 to 9 a.m. to discuss topics involving business ownership. There also are the “Chamber After Hours” events on the third Thursday of every month, which is a social gathering for Chamber members to get to know each other because “you do business with who you know.”

Follow the Chamber on social media for updates as to the location and dates of the upcoming events or check the website at