Chambergram | December, 2015

Perception vs. Reality on Benefits Yielded by Economic and Community Development Projects

Jennifer Tavares, CEcD, President & CEO

Jennifer Tavares, CEcD, President & CEO

A very important conversation has been taking place in our community regarding economic and community development projects; more specifically, what kind of financial benefits such projects should have access to in exchange for perceived or actual community benefits.

I would like to explore a statement I noticed in a recent article about the CIITAP Tax Abatement program in the City of Ithaca. The premise was essentially that since 2012, when the program changed, “Developers were under no obligation to return any real value to the community.”

Read more…

New Small Business Advisor for Tompkins County


The Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center regional office at Binghamton University are pleased to announce that a new, part-time Small Business Advisor will be available to counsel a variety of small businesses, micro-enterprises, and agricultural businesses in Tompkins County.

Steve Messmer has been appointed as a new Small Business Development Center advisor in the Tompkins County area. He will be meeting clients in the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce office located in Ithaca, which will also facilitate client access to many supporting services available through the Chamber, the Small Business Development Center, and other local business development partners.

Mr. Messmer will offer small business counseling services to a diverse group of new and returning clients, based on his years of experience in both public and private sectors. “We were impressed with Steve’s background in engineering, small business, farming, food manufacturing, and even non-profit development-as well as his approach to developing small business plans and financial projections,” said Jennifer Tavares, Chamber President and CEO, and Search Committee member.

Locally, Mr. Messmer is most known for his personal small business experience as co-owner of Lively Run Goat Dairy, which he owns with his wife Susanne, and two sons Peter and David. Lively Run was recently recognized by the New York SBDC as the New York State Agricultural Business of the Year. Steve and his family have operated Lively Run for over 20 years, during which time they have seen a ten-fold growth in operations including expansion of the product line to include cow milk cheeses, and development of an active on farm tourism program.

“I look forward to working with area entrepreneurs to assist in the process of converting their visions to realities, which bring new jobs and opportunities to our area,” said Messmer.

In addition to Lively Run, Steve’s career has included a decade of public service as a military engineer overseas, and 20 years of private sector engineering consulting with various architect and engineering firms. Finally, Steve has been active in public service volunteer work, throughout his career beginning with founding and leading a faith based volunteer refugee relief organization that operated for six years in Germany during the cold war.

“We expanded our presence in Tompkins County over a year ago, and have found the vibrant start-up and business community here to require a greater investment of our resources,” said Rochelle Layman, Regional Director of the Small Business Development Center. “We are very excited to create this additional part-time position to meet the business expansion needs of Tompkins County.”

The New York State Small Business Development Center (New York SBDC) provides expert management and technical assistance to start-up and existing businesses across the state. The New York SBDC is administered by State University of New York and funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of New York, and host campuses; services are free to clients. Binghamton University’s SBDC provides no-cost, confidential services to small businesses in Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Tioga, and Tompkins Counties. The mission is to provide customized solutions through one-to-one advisement, education research and advocacy for Entrepreneurs, Innovations and the Small and Medium Enterprise community. Since its start in 1984, the expert advisors of the Binghamton University SBDC have worked directly with 14,293 businesses, helping them to invest $214,328,846 in the area’s economy, and to create or save 11,227 jobs.

To schedule a consultation with Steve Messmer, Business Advisor, please call (607) 273-7080 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Chamber Board Election Results

The following members have been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce for a three year term beginning on January 1, 2016.

Name                            Company/Organization              Business Sector
*David Makar ………….. Rosie Applications …………………….Small Business/Service
*Emily Russell………….. The Frame Shop………………………. Small Business/Service
Simon Barrette………… Borg Warner…………………………….. Industry
Ron Chandler…………… Stork H&E Turbo Blading, Inc……. Industry
*Jerry Dietz…………….. CSP Management……………………… At Large
Jeff Matteson………….. TST BOCES………………………………. Education
Caleb Smith…………….. Welliver…………………………………… Large Business
Michael Katz……………. Hospicare………………………………… Non-Profit

*elected to second three-year term

New Members

Shooting Water Studio

Hobit Lafaye has been a photographer for over 20 years, specializing in fine art photography inspired by the “sublime landscapes” found in upstate New York. She became a full time professional when she established Shooting Water Studio in February, 2015. Read More…

Joyfull Fitness

Owned and operated by Simeon Darwick, LMT, Joyfull Fitness offers massage therapy, health coaching, and laughter coaching. But what Darwick really wants you to know about his philosophy and company is that it is based on joy, levity, and gratitude as a means for transformation and a ripple of wellness that inspires others. Read more…

Tomei AV Consulting

After spending over ten years working in audio visual design and support roles at Harvard University, Ithaca College, Walt Disney World, and as a freelance technician, Mike Tomei started Tomei AV Consulting in January of 2015. Now an independent audio visual consultant based out of Ithaca, NY, Tomei provides preventative maintenance services for AV equipment, AV system design, installation project management, and AV management consulting for higher education, K-12, corporate and commercial markets. Read more…

Ithaca Airline Limousine
Neil Wintermute
615 Five Mile Dr., PO Box 184, Ithaca, NY 14851
(607) 273-3030 |
Limousine Services

The Treman Center
Leslie Carrere, Co-founder/Curator
95 Hines Road, Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 351-8827 |
Banquet Facilities, Meeting Space

Monster Lounge: Curtis Dewey
919 Elmira Road, Ithaca, NY 14850
(212) 470-1221


Cuba_ad_merged_ horiz_09242015Cuba: The New Beginning, April 13 – 20, 2016 

Tour Registration Deadline is Jan. 13, 2016! Don’t wait! This People-to-People tour of the island via private, deluxe air-conditioned motor coach introduces you to open discussions, interactions and unusual visits illuminating Cuban events and issues, with the assistance of a specialized, bilingual Cuban guide. Hotels, Meals & Airfare from Miami are included, plus much more. From $3749 per person, double occupancy. Attend a free Presentation on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5:30PM at the Chamber. For more information email Patti at the Chamber, or call (607) 273-7080.

EventPhotoFull_DEC BAH - Chemung Canal
Business After Hours Real Deal 2016
BAH name bage

Chamber Members: save $ on registration for the monthly Business After Hours events by paying in advance for all 12 BAHs in 2016, January through December.
$125 for 12 months. Regularly $144, or $12/month.
$110 after the January 2016 BAH, 11 months
. Please call the office at (607) 273-7080
Forget about having to call in your reservation at the last minute and just breeze through registration. Your name badge will be waiting for you. Chamber Members only. This offer expires Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Register Now

Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers Showcase Negro Spirituals on Dec. 13

On Sunday, Dec.13, 3 p.m., hear the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers (DCJS) perform its most extensive concert to date, at Hockett Family Recital Hall, Ithaca College’s School of Music. The mission of this primarily a cappella African American spirituals chorus is to preserve this soulful body of music and to help promote racial healing through music. Free (suggested donation $10).

Fab5 nominations

Announcing the 1st Annual Tompkins Connect Fabulous Five (FAB5) Awards

The Fab5 Awards celebrate the achievement of Tompkins County young professionals, ages 21-40, who are growing and excelling in their respective fields and in the community. On February 22nd, the Fab5 Young Professional Awards will be hosted at Coltivare, with each award winner receiving recognition in front of their co-workers and peers. Sponsored by Tompkins Trust Company.  Read more…


Member News

The Landlords Association of Tompkins County elected officials at its annual meeting in October: President, Jim Lane; Vice-President, Larry Beck; Secretary, Peggy Thorpe; Treasurer, Ron Schmitt. Board of Directors seats were renewed for Brian McIlroy and Russ Maines, and Karla Terry was added. Board members continuing are David Gersh, Brian Grout, Mark Goldfarb, David Hall, James McCollum, Monica Moll and Carol Schmitt. The Landlords Association of Tompkins County is a nonprofit organization serving county property owners and managers, dedicated to improving the skills and business practices of its members. For more information contact, (607) 257-2382.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield of Central NY reports that only 1 in 3 upstate New York adults ages 18 to 64 receives an annual flu vaccine, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age six months and older get a flu vaccine annually. There were about 16,000 confirmed cases among adults ages 18 and older in upstate New York last year; nationwide, flu causes 200,000 hospitalizations and nearly 24,000 deaths each year. Flu shots and nasal sprays are covered in full under the Affordable Care Act, and available at many pharmacies and other sites without an appointment.

Ancient Wisdom Productions (AWP) has won two “Davey Awards”for its work on the Finger Lakes Land Trust website: a Gold Award in the Visual Appeal category, and a Silver Award in the Green/Eco-Friendly category. The Davey Awards is overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, which honors outstanding creative work from the best small agencies in the world.

Ithaca is Gorges and More

Visit-Ithaca_FullColorHoliday Sale! Through December 18th, enjoy 25% off all Ithaca is Gorges items at, and FREE shipping on orders of $50 or more using coupon code: HOLIDAY25. Excludes books, posters, and passports.


Save the Dates

Wed 12/9, 5p: December 2015 Business After Hours at Chemung Canal Trust Company

Tue 12/15, 5:30p: Cuba Pre-Tour Briefing (December), at Chamber of Commerce

Thu 12/17, 12 noon: December 2015 Networking@Noon, TBA

Thu 1/28/16: Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting & Dinner, Ithaca College.

See the complete calendar

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