Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce
HISTORY of the building that GOACC resides in. Olean Business Development purchased its current headquarters, located at 301 N. Union St., in 2015 and invested more $1.5 Million into the property, renovating and furnishing the building to create a central hub for business development, incubation, and co-working.
The building was built in 1885 by Riley and Wands, two Olean entrepreneurs who ran a retail and wholesale grocery operation for many years – the precursor to Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op. In the 1940s and ‘50s, the building was home to Jay’s Furniture, and in 1960, Olean businessmen Daniel McCarthy and Howard Eyler founded Olean Business Institute.
OBI occupied three floors of the building (plus the basement level) for more than 50 years, closing its doors in 2013.
The four-story building has a total of 20,000 square feet plus a full basement. The fourth floor is essentially untouched from the mid-1900s and will allow for additional incubator expansion.
Among the major capital improvements completed in the past year include the installation of a new elevator and shaft, a completely new HVAC system, energy-efficient windows, floor coverings, interior/exterior paint, new lighting and electrical systems.
The building now looks much more like it would have 100 years ago, but with state-of-the-industry improvements and efficiencies.
1906 - 2006
The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce (GOACC) is marking its 100th anniversary in 2006. We have much to celebrate as a chamber and as a community. We’ve come a long way over the past 100 years. The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in 1806 and has since grown from a handful of members to more than 700 with a diverse economic base.
In 1906, Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House, and what was called the “Olean Chamber of Commerce” incorporated in that same year. Olean Chamber of Commerce back then and now the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce still conjure up mixed feelings about business and its role in the community. Some see the organization as an elite group that benefits only a few; others see it a group of volunteers that has helped grow a prosperous community.
1906—imagine downtown Olean… the trolley clanging up and down the widest main street in . As the area progressed and grew with newly-created businesses and industries, so did the population. Schools and churches began to dot the residential neighborhoods. Many of these families today remain the cornerstones of the region and the surrounding areas. It was and is their dedication that makes the greater Olean area what it is today, different from what it was 100 years ago.
After poring over 100 years worth of history in scrapbooks, newspaper archives and annual reports, I found that education, business development, infrastructure upgrade, health care, labor supply and tourism were just as important in 1906 as they are in 2006. The scale is obviously different, but the focus has remained constant. Views and vistas may have changed, but it was the commitment of the volunteers who began the Chamber in 1906 and laid the groundwork that is today Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and becoming “Greater”...
It was GOACC that, in 1929, amid the nation’s worst economic depression, inaugurated the first Olean “Santa Claus Lane”, decorating the span of Union Street with garland and lights that today still provide the trademark of our traditional community’s Christmas season. To further illustrate, it was GOACC that rallied to bring cheer back to our residents, rebuilding Santa’s house and replenishing the decorations, garlands, and lights that were lost in the June 1972 flood.
Just as business must be sensitive to the needs and wants of its customers, GOACC has been extremely sensitive to the needs and wants of its members. As a result, over the past 100 years, we have experienced not only a growth of the organization as far as membership, but there’s also been an expansion of leadership projects, programs, and influence in moving the community toward progressive and continuous growth opportunities. GOACC has played a significant role in the progress of the greaterOlean area communities. The cornerstone of GOACC’s long tradition of providing the community with a healthy and happy place to raise a family, to manage a business, and to visit, have not changed over the last century.
Throughout 2006, we invite you to explore and learn how much GOACC has accomplished during its first century. Experience and reflect upon the area’s natural beauty and the treasures we all encounter living in this magnificent area. This year-long celebration will not be possible without all the member volunteers who will no doubt commit to planning, organizing and developing memorable centennial events. GOACC has a lot to celebrate in 2006. GOACC has had a remarkable past 100 years and we look forward to an even more remarkable and “Greater” future.
John Sayegh, Former COO GOACC from 2001-2010
Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce • 716-372-4433 • firstname.lastname@example.org