How has the pandemic affected small business and what are they challenged with as they re-open?
There has been disruption to the local economy in varying degrees and business sectors. From what I am hearing and observing in the community, the challenges are consistent; availability of staff, increased regulations and protocols, rebuilding a customer/client base after closures, ensuring staff and customers are safe and comfortable in their environment.
How has your experience in the community prepared you to deal with crisis?
I’ll start out by saying, I don’t believe anything could have prepared us for the ongoing crisis we face. However, dealing with crisis in general, I have been very fortunate over the years to have developed a network of local leaders, business influencers and stakeholders in our community and this has often facilitated working together on projects and initiatives. During the crisis, those relationships allowed me to make connections and continue to provide me the opportunity to support local business.
How have the Chambers responded?
I’m very proud of the team at the Chamber, who continue to adapt to changes everyday, and who have each used their talents and expertise in responding to the crisis.
Keeping the community informed was critical and from the beginning, both Parksville and Qualicum Chambers focused on communicating with businesses and the community to provide up to date information from a variety of sources. Combining the resources of both Chambers has been a benefit to the region and we will continue to work together to support the business community.
We have developed a program and assembled a set of tools to assist businesses with re-opening and re-establishing. We are now leading the charge with a Support Local campaign partnering with local leaders to encourage the community to Think Local First.