small businesses

Small Business Struggles: Checking in With the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce

Leaders have had to become creative in the COVID-19 era to support their members

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Local chambers of commerce have played a big role in assisting small businesses, especially during one of the most difficult periods many of them have ever weathered.

NBC Connecticut is checking in with the president of the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce, who spoke with us last six months ago.

Chamber President Mike Sanzo said his member businesses were facing challenges then, and even more so now.  For one, he said small business grand openings have been the exception these days, rather than the rule. 

He spoke after the early December kickoff for Your CBD Store South Windsor.

“The South Windsor chamber did a ribbon cutting for the first time in a long time.  We felt comfortable to do one, socially distanced…it was a small beacon of prosperity in these trying times,” Sanzo said.

Your CBD Store South Windsor owner Rebekkah Fernandez believes she’s in one of the few fields that is growing right now, despite gloomy overall trends due to coronavirus.

“Being in one community, didn’t quite reach enough communities, so we wanted to get a little closer to people we saw needed us there,” Fernandez said.

Sanzo explained that beyond having a robust enough economy to support new small businesses, there has been something else holding many of them back - getting enough employees.

“There’s some hesitancy out there to return to work when the reward isn’t quite worth the risk,” Sanzo said.

Sanzo added the chamber has helped members with this issue before, admitting it’s not an easy problem to solve.

At the same time, Sanzo has started linking up members with customers with a holiday gift guide now available on the chamber’s website.

“It is free to register for all businesses, regardless of your services or your products that you’re selling the community,” Sanzo pointed out.

The chamber has even invited small businesses from neighboring towns to put their links in the gift guide as well. 

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