On the afternoon of March 17, our lives changed like many of yours. At the Durango Chamber of Commerce, we migrated to working remotely. The chamber staff is now hunkering down but still working to help keep our economy going, as we ALL need to be doing.
Those of us in the background of the business community are working to figure out all the options we can do to sustain us through this time and how we can re-open.
Rest assured, the chamber staff and I have been working diligently for our members and the community we all love. I have participated in an average of five virtual meetings a day. The chamber is a “big voice for small business.” I have reported our survey findings to Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, Congressman Scott Tipton and State Senator Don Coram and Representative Barbara McLachlan. In addition, the Durango Chamber is part of 80 national chambers urging for Business Interruption Insurance changes.
I want to give a shout-out to our local banks and local accountants who are keeping current on all these supportive measures and helping their clients navigate the hoops and loops. Red tape and tons of paperwork are not the most fun on anyone’s top ten list.
And thank you to our media partners in this community. Most people probably don’t think about it, but our media relies on advertising to survive – and if a business isn’t open, they’re not advertising, and that’s income that our media centers need to keep providing you with information (print, radio, TV, even social media). We cannot lose our local information sources because then we’re not only isolated in our homes, we’re isolated from information we need to come back out of this.
To assist the local economy, we here at the Chamber are doing a number of online meetings, workshops and more – all designed to keep businesses informed about opportunities to keep your business in business, and take care of your employees. All of these are free. Just check our website, www.durangobusiness.org, to find out the scheduling. And did we even know what Zoom was before this?
And finally, shop local. I’m trying not to be a broken record (I show my age with that addage). But our partnership with the Business Improvement District and Local First has resulted in an Online Store (thanks, Tim Wlasworth and Tanya Clegg). Visit www.downtowndurango.org to shop all the merchandise and services our local businesses have for sale. A real benefit to many of our businesses, especially our service providers, is purchasing gift cards now to be used when the shelter in place order has been lifted. So we can all emerge safely, please continue to wear a protective mask and frequently wash your hands while out on essential excursions.
I call this business unusual, for the time-being. And it breaks my heart that so many of our local events have been cancelled or postponed. But Durango is resilient, and we will return bigger and better than ever. Again, if you need help or want to give help visit swcoda.org. Stay safe.
Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.