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The survey says ... region is growing

— “It’s like a snowball, it just keeps growing and growing,” said Bardunias.

Bardunias said in 2011, chamber membership was up 4 percent and in just the first two months of 2012, membership has already increased 2.5 percent. Thriving businesses also helps the chamber function better, he said.

“We are really excited about where the chamber’s headed. When members are doing well, it means they participate more, they’re more eager to try more programs and new things,” said Bardunias.

Colonie Chamber of Commerce members seem a bit warier about 2011 and 2012, according to the survey. In 2011, 37.8 percent of businesses recorded an increase in business while 37.9 percent recorded a decrease and 24.3 percent said business remained stable.

Tom Nolte, president of the Colonie Chamber of Commerce, said based on what he’s hearing from his members, the challenges are starting to ease, but they’re still there.

“We represent a majority of small- to medium-size businesses. … They’re starting to see that light at the end of the tunnel but with that they’ve had to make some tough decisions over the past few years,” said Nolte.

Still, 46 percent believe their business would increase in 2012, something Nolte said is possible because of how they’ve adjusted business practices.

“I think for a lot of them, it’s really made them run their business smarter and look at every single aspect of their business, which you have to do as small businessperson anyway,” said Nolte.

For the second time in only 17 years, Capital District businesses ranked the national economy ahead of rising health care costs as their primary business concern.

“I think across the board, the top four concerns were pretty universal, locally and probably on a national level … taxes, government regulations, national economy and healthcare costs,” said Nolte.

Eagan said he thinks the Capital District is better positioned to weather the struggling national economy and even grow when compared to other areas of the state and country.

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