The Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce wrapped up its Restart, Rebound, Rebuild series by sharing how the organization itself plans to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the final webinar of the series on July 1, WyCCC President Gina Suydam shared that RRR offered 30 sessions since April 15 with an average of 35 participants per call, reaching more than 1,000 people overall.
“We’re very excited to have brought this series to you,” Suydam said. “We hope it has been helpful.”
Throughout the pandemic, she has encouraged business owners to be transparent in letting the public know where they stand. Taking her own advice, Suydam shared that the pandemic has taken a toll on the Chamber as well.
501c6 organizations like the WyCCC and the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau aren’t eligible for financial assistance programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program through the U.S. Small Business Administration, she explained.
Suydam said she understands if members aren’t able to pay their dues or sponsor events like they did in the past and encouraged people in these situations to reach out.
She also plans to hold one-on-one meetings with business owners to help gauge the impact of COVID-19 on Wyoming County as part of a greater plan to help the region rebuild.
Moving forward, the WyCCC will focus on “solutions, sharing and shopping,” Suydam said.
RRR will evolve into a new series with fewer webinars called Business Owners Sharing Solutions, with more information to be announced.
Suydam hopes in-person events can resume next year, but that doesn’t mean the Chamber’s calendar is blank for the rest of 2020.
On July 16 and 23, the Chamber presents Leadercast for two half-day events at Shadowbrook Resort from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Face masks and social distancing are required. Participants can also tune in remotely from their home or office.
Originally, Suydam planned on waiting to show Leadercast, but she found this year’s theme of “positive disruption” too timely to keep on hold.
Leadership Wyoming is going into its fifth year with a limited class size and other modifications.
Additionally, Suydam said the Chamber still expects to hold its Fallfest Mixer and Membership Appreciation Breakfast later this year. While the details haven’t been worked out yet, she assured they won’t look the same as previous years in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
Suydam also went over the Chamber’s efforts to help the local business community since mid-March when the pandemic began taking shape.
Besides offering insight on everything from grant opportunities to reopening procedures through RRR, the Chamber launched Pay It Forward through its Leadership Wyoming class and facilitated the sale of around $5,000 worth of gift cards from local restaurants.
On June 26, the Chamber also raised money for the business community through Play Hard Shop Small at Lazybrook Park in partnership with Tunkhannock Area High School athletes.
Money from PHSS t-shirt sales will directly benefit a new initiative, Spread Kindness Shop Small. On Fridays, WyCCC staff and board members plan to hand out gift cards from Wyoming County businesses to customers shopping locally as a thanks for their support.
With that, Suydam asked the public to be kind and respect the rules for wearing masks and social distancing while patronizing businesses.
She also reminded business owners of a few financial assistance opportunities available.
Request information and an application for the Wyoming County COVID-19 Relief Block Grant by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Apply for Pennsylvania Small Business Assistance until July 14 on metroaction.org or the PA 30 Day Fund on pa30dayfund.com.
To connect with the WyCCC, visit wyccc.com or call 570-836-7755.