The Fredonia, New York community has come together to support their neighbors and local small business owners.
Goldman Sachs shared a report on March 19, 2020 with details from a survey of more than 1500 US small business owners which found that, as many of us have observed in our own communities, the impact of COVID-19 will be significant.
- 51% say they will only be able to continue to operate for 0-3 months
- 53% say their employees don’t have the ability to telecommute
- 13% are confident about their contingency plan to meet business needs
- 67% of small business owners are uncertain about how to access and apply for emergency funding
Just a few weeks ago here in the village of Fredonia, our community, its businesses, residents, and various organizations were celebrating winning the Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution Season 5 contest and the award of $500,000 toward revitalizing the town and local businesses. It was a time of great happiness and pride for our local businesses as the TV crew and celebrity hosts began filming at the seven businesses honored with the award.
Then, abruptly, COVID-19 stole our joy. We were suddenly in the center of a global pandemic. Virtually all commerce ceased in Fredonia as schools closed, restaurants and taverns closed or went to pick-up or delivery services, and “non-essential businesses” closed in an effort to curb the spreading of the disease. Almost all the momentum gained over the past four months of promotional activity trying to win the contest and draw attention to “#myfredonia” was lost to the crisis.
However, our local chamber of commerce committee, along with help from the county chamber and representatives from the Deluxe Corporation, began brainstorming ideas for regaining some of the momentum for our community and helping the businesses hit hardest by the crisis. We began with on social media promotion for the businesses still preparing food for pick-up or delivery. We spoke to tavern owners and retailers about offering gift certificates that could be redeemed later. And we asked restaurants and bars to estimate their expenses over the next 30 to 60 days and the amount of food or drink they’d need to sell to cover those expenses. We’ve encouraged businesses to call their insurance providers and check their policies for riders covering business disruptions.
The reception so far has been very positive; the businesses appreciate our efforts. Our hopes are that each business that has been either disrupted or closed will be able to weather this storm. We continue to work one-on-one with businesses that remain open and hope that we will continue banding together to return us to the successful community we were before the COVID-19 crisis. It is likely that you’re seeing similar efforts in your own communities. These efforts, while seemingly small, can have significant impact if repeated in communities across the country. Here at HBKS and HBK CPAs and Consultants, we will continue to raise awareness of tools and resources available to you, your local small businesses, and your communities.
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