small business

Helping Small Businesses Through the Coronavirus Outbreak

One local Chamber of Commerce has a creative way to assist small businesses

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A big concern with coronavirus stalling our economy has been how to keep small businesses afloat.

The Connecticut Department of Labor said it has received 72,000 unemployment claims since March 13, about 29 times the normal weekly rate.  

Count Connecticut Valley Brewery in South Windsor as one of the places feeling the pain.

Connecticut Valley Brewery is still selling its beer to people who want to come and pick it up

Director of Sales Jeff Nelson told NBC Connecticut, “The world has changed.  This certainly isn’t something we wrote into our business plan…had to furlough some employees.  We definitely want them back.”

One way to hopefully keep those numbers from skyrocketing is by helping small businesses that are still open, and the local Chamber of Commerce has come up with a unique plan.

The chamber has sent out a survey out to small businesses in the area, asking a series of questions about when they’re open and what services they offer.

Those that fill it out will go on a list the chamber will share with people.

“If they have a specific resource to turn to to know where they can shop, what they can buy at that establishment and what kind of services those establishments are providing I think they’ll feel more comfortable reaching out to those business owners," South Windsor Chamber of Commerce president Michael Sanzo said.

Petersen’s Hardware said it is one of the small businesses going on the South Windsor chamber’s list.  

Petersen's True Value Hardware in South Windsor will bring purchases outside for curbside pickup

Owner Darren Long explained sharing small details, like that Petersen’s now offers curbside pickup, will help them, and many other store owners.

“It’s gonna be hard for people.  Hopefully we recover when this goes away and we’ll come back, and bounce back.”

Another plus the chamber emphasized is that it’s not limiting it to just its members. 

State Representative Tom Delnicki, who assisted in the effort, told NBC Connecticut, “I’ve been working with small businesses since this pandemic hit. They are struggling and we need to do whatever we can to help them out.  The Chamber survey will tell us who is open, what they can get and when people can go there. We can take the survey results, turn them into a list and share the information on social media, updating the info on a regular basis.  The great part about this is that cities and towns not only in Connecticut but nationwide can duplicate this process. Think about it, we can all share the info on social media helping our neighbors and our small business people during this difficult time.”

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