Commentary: Chamber is helping during crisis

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With each new development surrounding the COVID-19, businesses are facing tough decisions and a heightened level of uncertainty as both owners and employers. Most industries are on a mandated shutdown as deemed non-essential—a difficult term for many to digest given that their business is their livelihood and that of their employees.

Be assured, your business is essential to the economic vitality of the greater Southington community and the chamber is here to help you through these times of hardship.

This is an extremely challenging time as we continue to persevere together to keep business moving forward. Don’t be fooled by the “shut-in” or “social distancing” terminology. This is no time for business owners to sit idle. Take the time to address aspects of your business that will help you come out of this perceived down time more prepared and stronger.

It is a great time to share and trade resources among businesses and draw upon the knowledge and expertise of others in their respective fields. It is a good time to revisit your business and marketing plans, review your policies and offering of employee benefits, update your customer list, engage in professional development and offer skill improvement to your employees.

Like most, your Southington Chamber is working remotely, and your business is our priority. We have spent endless hours the past few weeks taking an active role in participating in discussions through various channels with the governor’s office, DECD, SBA, DOL, U.S. Chamber, CBIA, state representatives, senators, Connecticut town hall meetings and those of other states, chamber directors across the country and several other organizations to provide the most up to date information on the state and federal economic injury recovery grants, loans, UI and programs for you and your employees.

Businesses needing assistance completing SBA loans may contact any one of our chamber member banks for assistance: Liberty Bank, Ion Bank, TD Bank, Webster Bank, Wells Fargo, Santander, American Eagle Federal Credit Union or Peoples United Bank. Employers needing help navigating whether to layoff or utilize the state workshare program should speak with one of the attorneys and CPAs listed on the chamber membership directory on the website.

The chamber is also finding new ways to keep businesses connected through a series of webinars, videos and teleconferencing opportunities. Member businesses wishing to be a guest presenter individually or on a panel should email us at social@southingtonchamber.com.

The Chamber recently moved its ‘Chamber in the Morning’ networking program to an online format which was well attended and continues to grow in participants.

There is no single solution to what we are all experiencing. The more we share and support one another, the greater our resiliency. Please continue to share your concerns and insight with me, so that I may best help you meet the needs of your business. Stay Safe and Be Well.

Barbara Coleman-Hekeler is the president of the Southington Chamber of Commerce, located at 31 Liberty St., Suite 210. She can be reached at (860) 628-8036, ext. 102 or at Barbara@southingtonchamber.com