Businesses across East Boulder County have had to change their operations while the new coronavirus pandemic continues, but are working to remain open. In each of the four communities, local chambers of commerce have been working with businesses to provide financial resources, ways to promote what is open and how people can help.
The Louisville Chamber of Commerce has been working with the city to ensure both websites are up to date and provide the same information to ensure messages are consistent, Chamber Executive Director Shelley Angell said.
“We have been sending out emails anytime we get updates, whether it’s from the county or state, to make sure everyone is updated,” Angell said. “Our biggest thing is that businesses know the latest information. We’re trying to send it as soon as we get it.”
Some information the Chamber and city have shared include city updates, resources for businesses such as small business and economic injury disaster loans, how to help support businesses and a list of businesses that are open.
The city and Chamber also worked together to create a Support Local page that provides information about businesses, social media accounts, websites, emails and phone numbers.
“We’re all working together,” Angell said. “This is an amazing community, we’ll get through this.”
The chamber has been asking businesses to keep it up to date with operations to help spread the word to residents, Angell said.
“If we want our businesses to be here tomorrow, we have to help them today,” she said.
She added residents should continue to order takeout or curbside deliveries, purchase gift cards and make appointments for businesses for dates after mandatory closures are lifted.
“It’s not just the restaurants that need help,” Angell said. “There’s hairdressers that can’t work right now. Let them know we’re still supporting them.”
The Chamber is also working on an incentive to get residents out spending money with local businesses.
“When you shop at a small business, send us the receipt and we’re going to have a $500 prize drawing,” Angell said. “I know people are fearful, but businesses are putting things online and doing the best they can.”
She said those interested in the drawing can email email@example.com. The date has not been set.
In Erie, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Elle Cabbage, said the chamber is trying to keep businesses up to date with information as it comes in by posting it to the chamber’s website and social media accounts.
On the chamber’s website, Cabbage said businesses are able to find information about small business loans, as well as updates from the county, state and town officials.
Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Director of Events and Marketing Pat Vero said the chamber is reaching out to all of its members to find out what each business is doing.
“It’s always ever-changing,” Vero said. “We’re trying to see what businesses are open, which are offering curbside and to-go orders.”
The Lafayette Chamber has created a Facebook page, Keep Lafayette Strong, Together, and is inviting all Lafayette businesses and residents to participate in sharing what businesses are doing,Vero said.
“Every time something changes, we want to get the Lafayette community involved,” Vero said. “We want to have these businesses let us know what they’re doing.”
The Chamber also has a page of resources dedicated to working remotely, child care, unemployment and layoffs, business guidance and information about COVID-19.
The Chamber and city officials also teamed up to create a website that details businesses with pickup, delivery and online offerings.
“We’re also posting county and state links on our website to provide people any information on community and business support,” Vero said.
Vero said it’s important for residents to keep visiting businesses.
“If we can support what’s open right now, it will help businesses and restaurants,” Vero said. “If you were eating there on a regular basis, get takeout on a regular basis. The best thing to do is to call them or visit their website, find out what they’re doing, and support them. The businesses are what’s keeping our town alive, we need those businesses.”
Superior Chamber of Commerce Executive Director TJ Sullivan said the organization has created a webpage of resources for businesses and residents.
“We are a hub of information for residents as well as businesses, so we’ve included things on mental health, domestic violence abuse, right there along with how to host a Zoom call,” Sullivan said.
He said what the town’s businesses need are grants to fund operations.
“Everyone is eagerly waiting for the federal government to make the first move, then I expect the state to start making some grant decisions,” Sullivan said.
He said all the town’s businesses, not just restaurants, need support.
“But many (businesses) aren’t really set up to make revenue with closed doors,” Sullivan said. “The very best advice is to check a business’ website and see if they’re offering something online. Buy gift certificates. Schedule an appointment for June.”
He added the Chamber has been hearing that residents will need to be prepared to open their wallets when the bans have been lifted.
“A lot of businesses are going to need strong, exuberant support the minute they can reopen,” Sullivan said.
The Superior Chamber has launched an effort called Operation Carryout that lists restaurants and their phone numbers.