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Michael T. Baldwin Reports: Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce to close June 30

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The GACCoC served local businesses and county government

In 2008 a group of local visionaries collaborated to create a Chamber of Commerce to serve the entire county of Allegany.  With their efforts, the Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce was born as a 501-c-6 corporation with Bill Hart as President and local business owners as the Board of Directors. 

The Chamber enjoyed early success by supporting small and large businesses in our county.   In 2009 the Chamber was offered the contract to administer Allegany County’s tourism program.   The Chamber stepped up to the challenge administering a successful tourism program for over thirteen years.   During that time, due to the Chamber’s efforts, tourism spending by visitors increased over 30%.  

In 2012 Gretchen Hanchett, the longest serving Executive Director, came on board.  Under her guidance the Chamber developed many member-to-member programs and professional development opportunities.  In partnership with Houghton College, Leadership Allegany was conceived and implemented, training existing and future Allegany County leaders.   While the Chamber is a not-for-profit corporation, it takes funding to continue to provide services to Allegany County and our 100 member businesses.  The funding comes from member dues, occasional events and the main funding source, a fee for managing the tourism program. 

In October 2021, the Chamber was informed that tourism was being brought under the umbrella of county government and the tourism contract would be terminated in 45 days.  That, of course is the county’s right and the Chamber respects that.  The Chamber and the Allegany County Planning Department, where the tourism effort would be housed, struggled to make the switch within that short timeline.  This was not enough time for the Chamber to properly train and transfer information to the Planning Department or to develop a new funding source to replace the tourism contract revenue.  Since December 1, 2021, the Chamber has been struggling to replace that revenue and those efforts have been unsuccessful. 

It is our sad duty to announce that after fourteen years, the Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce will close its doors on June 30, 2022.   We wish our members and business partners the best and it was a pleasure to serve you.  

 Girard Kelly, President      

Rod Biehler, Vice President 

Corinna McKnight, Secretary    

Linda Twigg, Treasurer 

Steve Havey, Interim Executive Director 

For further information contact Steve Havey, Interim Executive Director, at [email protected] or 585-808-5418 before July 1, 2022

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