Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Chamber of Commerce in an e-mail to members and the media is pointing out services it has provided during the COVIG-19 pandemic and requesting support from members and the community.
Bobby Clue, executive director of the chamber, said: … "I'm proud of the work we've done at a time when it is needed most. I hope you recognize the value we bring to our community and that we've earned your membership and support.
"Your support of the chamber is needed now more than ever to continue the work we're doing to assist struggling businesses and create proactive programs to build a stronger economy," said Clue.
"Whether your business has benefited personally from the chamber, your membership supports our efforts to be catalysts for business growth, conveners of leaders and influencers and champions for a stronger community," Clue insists.
"If you're a member and are up for renewal, please renew your membership. If you're facing challenges in your business as a result of COVID-19, please contact me and we will work with you," Clue promised.
The chamber director pointed out the last four months have been unprecedented. He said the chamber has fielded thousands of calls and e-mails from the local business community asking for help.
"When the decision was made to shut down businesses, or first response was to reach out to our members," Clue recalled. "My staff and I called more than 500 retail member businesses to assess their situation and offer our assistance and support," Clue said.
The chamber also did a business impact study to get more detailed responses on how businesses were being impacted and hour the chamber could help. A coronavirus update page on the chamber's website keeps Lake Cumberland businesses informed about everything coronavirus related.
Clue said the chamber took a leadership role in educating members on how the coronavirus is impacting business, and in explaining and sharing resources as they were becoming available. "We also used social media to expand our reach. Thank you to the dozens of businesses who commented how helpful and informative our efforts have been," Clue remarked.
The chamber was able to assist in directing people on how to apply for unemployment, file for the Paycheck Protection Program and identify job opportunities for people who have recently lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
Over the past two months, the chamber of commerce has compiled a three-part e-mail series titled "The Road to Recovery" where we have outlined ways for businesses to Reopen, Recover and Revitalize. This series has gained statewide attention and helped provide vital tools to our business community in the return to a state of normalcy, Clue revealed.
"We were also able to host multiple question and answer sessions with our membership to help answer questions on the local and federal levels, he noted.
"The chamber never missed one day of work during this pandemic. We worked to identified ways to strengthen our organization so we could continue to supporting our members through the use of digital technology," Clue continued.
"By using Zoom video conferencing technology, we have been able to provide 'virtual training' classes for our membership. Zoom has also allowed us to interview several top-notch speakers who were unable to attend our monthly luncheons." the chamber's executive director said.
Clue continued: "Facebook LIVE has also been a tool we have utilized to promote our members and host events. To date, we have hosted 14 'virtual ribbon cuttings' that have allowed us to push forward and provide our business community with much needed visibility. Each 'virtual ribbon cutting' has received thousands of views and has been identified as something we will continue to use into the future because of its value," Clue said
"We also used Facebook LIVE to host our annual "State of the County & City Address" with Steve Kelley & Alan Keck. With the assistance of The Center for Rural Development, we were able to use host this event virtually. To date, over 8,000 people have viewed the Facebook video," he said.
"Although not new, our "Shop Local Somerset" program became a very important focus in recent months, Clue noted. The importance of shopping locally has never been more important and through this program, we were able to encourage our community to keep dollars local and help our retail business community during a very difficult time," he noted.
Restaurants were some of the hardest hit businesses. Within the first week the chamber compiled a list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery services to encourage the community to support these restaurants.
The chamber worked with Pulaski County Government and Judge Steve Kelley to secure and distribute 15,000 disposable masks to local businesses. The chamber also purchased several thousands of dollars worth of hand sanitizer, latex gloves, hand soap and alcohol wipes that was also distributed to the business community at no charge.
"Your support of the chamber is needed now more than ever to continue the work we're doing to assist struggling businesses and create proactive programs to build a stronger economy," Clue concluded.