On behalf of our board of directors, our Operations Manager Petra Roche, our wonderful committee chairs and many others, I bring you well wishes. My hope is that you have been able to access resources for your businesses, your organizations and your families to support you through this immensely difficult time.
The value that our small businesses bring to the community has never been more evident than now. Things that we and our families enjoyed were suddenly gone – dance and martial arts studios, restaurants, haircuts, dental services, and the like. Because small business gives us so much – jobs, local tax revenue, donations, and desired goods and services, federal and state governments designed the bulk of the disaster relief packages to benefit them.
Our chamber has been working hard to help everyone, members and non-members, navigate through the alphabet soup of disaster recovery offerings. We have held and participated in dozens of webinars with the Small Business Administration and elected officials to understand the federal packages, and with the Maryland Department of Commerce for the statewide loans and grants.
Many do not know that the chamber is a small business too, not subsidized by the government or a state or national chamber entity. Our revenue comes from dues, events and sponsorships. While that has been drastically reduced, we remain dedicated to supporting our businesses, growing local businesses by cultivating relationships between members, residents and elected officials, encouraging community involvement, and fostering economic growth. We continue this work, one day at a time.
Technology has been wonderful and a lifesaver over the months, but our community is built on interpersonal relationships that cannot be replaced by the internet. It may take a while, but we look forward to restoring the vibrance that we had just a short time ago!
As Maryland continues to operate under the state of emergency declaration, we had to cancel our wonderful, community-based Shop Local Fun Fiesta held in May. We are now planning our Shoptoberfest event, which will be held at Park Plaza in October.
And because of the emergency declaration, we profoundly regret to announce that we cannot hold our beloved Independence Day parade this year. Our hope is to postpone the parade to Labor Day in September so we can celebrate both our country’s birthday and people returning to work!
Our health and wellness committee has been incredibly busy with its Mask Miracles project, making over 4,000 masks for hospitals, nursing homes and any organization in need. They have closed the project and are now making TLC kits for nurses.
As our businesses re-open, they are using the utmost in safety measures to protect you, their employees and themselves. We know that you are supporting our businesses in every way that you can by shopping local, eating local, giving local and supporting local. Thank you.
Please join our chamber! Go to www.gspacc.com or contact us at email@example.com for more information.