Chamber honors members

The Dunkirk Chamber of Commerce celebrated its first annual dinner in five years and honored several of its members at the event.

Chamber member and OBSERVER Publisher John D’Agostino served as master of ceremonies at the event Wednesday afternoon at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk. He introduced Chautauqua County Cham-ber of Commerce President Todd Tranum, who briefly reviewed the organization’s activity throughout the previous year.

“The Chamber has been leading the community for consolidation, regionalism and shared services. We have, in many ways, been a model of that,” Tranum said, and explained some chamber organizations in smaller districts have combined. “There has sometimes been discord while making changes, but … when the rubber hits the road, we were able to work through some complex issues and get it done,” he said.

Tranum said the key to success for a business-focused organization is to have balance.

“We must be efficient and strong countywide and have flexibility at the local level … to strike that balance,” he said.

Tranum spoke of recent bad news regarding ConAgra layoffs and closings.

“We’ll weather through the challenges. We have a great community and wonderful people. We will work together to make sure we have a business-friendly environment and … businesses will want in (to the area),” he shared with the crowd.

New officers for the year were also installed at the luncheon. The Dunkirk Chamber’s new president is Ellen Luczkowiak, Jay Warren will serve as vice president, Doug Fenton is secretary and Jason Ferguson is treasurer.

Luczkowiak noted the Dunkirk Chamber of Commerce began in 1901 and was composed largely of members of the steel industry. She said, particularly to business members, “We want you to know we’re here to help you. … My door is always open.”

Awards were given to local businesses which were nominated and voted by the Dunkirk board of directors.

The business of the year recipient is Add Lumber, and the plaque was accepted by Andrew Dziduch. D’Agostino said the company has “a tradition helping build Dunkirk and the surrounding areas.”

The community service award was given to Drs. James and Irene Strychalski of Lake Shore Orthodontics and Oral Surgery, both of whom were present to accept the award.

New member business of the year was given to Rookie’s on the Lake, accepted by Kaylee Bennice and Meghan Larson.

An award for continued years of service was given to what D’Agostino described as “a gem of a business,” Kirk’s Jewelers and Gifts, Inc. Sarah Gollnitz and Sharon Frey were present to accept the award. Special recognition was given to Jamestown Community College, which was accepted by Frank Porpiglia and Greg DeCinque.

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