The last week has brought more challenges than I think our community has ever seen. The COVID-19 virus came and blew up our lives so much more than many of us could have ever imagined. I’ll be the first to admit that I was definitely not prepared for it – not at home, and definitely not at the office.
The governor of Iowa and many other governors across the country have begun to close and place some restrictions on certain businesses. Some have still been able to operate (minimally), while others were quite literally shut down, with very short notice. Some have closed to protect themselves & their customers from this virus - or taken steps to promote social distancing.
If you drove down Main Street Osage this morning like I did – I’m guessing you noticed what I did. Lots of closed signs, not many cars – a sign of what could be our new normal if we do not do all we can to lift up our local businesses. What if some of these businesses never reopen? What if they simply cannot recover? These are realities we need to face: picture your favorite business in our community - and now picture it boarded up and shuttered. That's a reality for a LOT of communities - we cannot let it be ours.
These business owners have chosen to invest in our community: they’ve invested in the building for their business; they pay property taxes on those buildings which help fund our community’s infrastructure; they are the first ones asked (and typically the first ones to oblige) for fundraisers for schools & churches, proms, fairs & festivals, benefits, etc. – and they do this because they love doing business in our community. They do it when business is not always so great (which is a lot nowadays). They also invest in advertising when they can – which helps to drive more outside traffic to the community (not just their business), resulting in an even bigger impact on our local economy.
By now you are all probably wondering – well if businesses are closed, what are we supposed to do to support them? I am SO glad you asked! (You probably knew I’d get there eventually, right?) Well, some small things (that include social distancing) would include showing some love on the business pages for some of our area businesses. Give one of their posts a SHARE – it’s worth so much (much more than a like)! You can also ask the business owner directly how you can support them right now. If you pay a monthly membership (i.e. gym / fitness center)– continue to pay it even if they are closed. Last but not least, support our area restaurants – many are working hard to provide carryout and delivery services when they are able.
Our board has been working on several ways to help these businesses during this time – we worked hard to create a dedicated community page where people can get information on business closings, new business offerings and other pertinent updates.
We hope to have a new targeted campaign live soon – be watching our Facebook page for updates over the next day or so. I encourage you all to partake and do what you can (no matter big or small) to help our small businesses. They truly ARE the backbone to our communities.
We’re not sure what is going to happen next, if/when more closings and/or restrictions are coming, among other things. What I do know – deep in my soul - is that our community rallies. We rally around each other; we pick each other up when we are down – and we will most certainly get through this. I hope you’ll join me in pledging to support all of our local businesses now – because they need it now more than ever.
The last week has been a whirlwind for most of the country - and Mitchell County is no exception! While (fortunately) we do not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our immediate area, we've seen the ripple effects of announcements being made around the state, country - and the world.
This is one of those moments when we really need to support our local businesses - in any way possible - if you are able. Maybe there's a business you normally frequent but you want to avoid public places - pick up a gift card for future use - or see if they'd be willing to mail it to you. If there's a business you pay membership to (i.e. gym, subscription) - continue to pay those as many businesses use those fees to keep their doors open & lights on. If you aren't one to normally dine out, maybe you'd consider it more in the days and weeks ahead. If you'd rather stay out of public spaces, take-out is a great option also! Maybe there's a fundraiser you wanted to attend but are now hesitant - see about making a donation to the organization instead. All of these will help, however the biggest thing you can probably do right now is this: ask the business owner how you can help. Even if they don't have an answer, it will mean the world that you asked! If you're avoiding travel, plan a stay-cation and explore our backyard! There's much to see and do in and around Mitchell County. I hope you'll join me in making a concerted effort to support our area businesses - whatever that may look like - because they do for us every day.
This weekend is the Spring Preview Open House - and I know many of our retailers are looking forward to showing off some of the newest spring items - clothing, decor, furniture and other unique finds! If you have something you need but don't want to venture out, be sure to call or message the business - they love being able to help their customers find what they need!
As always, Chamber bucks are another great way we are able to keep spending dollars local - which fuels our local economy. Contact us if you would like an order by calling 641-732-3163 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Osage Chamber of Commerce
704 Main Street
Osage, Iowa 50461
Phone: (641) 732-3163