The past year has certainly been quite the roller coaster ride filled with many challenges. Despite their struggles, we have seen many businesses find creative ways to change their business model, provide support to the community, and lift each other up during difficult days. Through this time, The Chamber continued to focus on our core mission of addressing the needs of the business community. Providing accurate information was paramount during a time of extreme stress; moving programming to a virtual platform became the norm; and helping members adapt to new working environments were critical components to moving forward.
The Chamber made sure to remain connected with our elected officials. Providing a direct link through virtual meetings allowed businesses to speak with and share their stories with state and federal legislators. Virtual Town Hall programs with Congressman John Joyce, representatives from Senator Pat Toomey’s staff, Senator Doug Mastriano and Representative Torren Ecker were held to learn the status of important legislative initiatives during the crisis.
We were able to levy our partnership with the state and US chambers to make experts and resources accessible to the local business community. Programs on the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans provided by the SBA, and federal CARES Act updates from the US Chamber were held so that businesses could make informed decisions on the best way to move forward in accessing needed support. More recently webinars have been offered on the Bringing PA Back initiative through the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry as a means to begin looking forward to recovery.
Local experts provided information on how to maintain a clean and safe environment for employees and visitors, as well as how to benefit from the Employee Retention Tax Credit program, and other tax laws that were changing. We also worked with WellSpan Health and UPMC to offer webinars on public safety and updates throughout the crisis. In cooperation with our many local partners, including the New Oxford Area Chamber and Destination Gettysburg we also focused on getting the word out that businesses remained open, and shared what their customers, clients and diners could expect.
In the coming year, The Chamber will continue to focus on our strategic initiatives. Addressing member needs is first and foremost. Because of the success of virtual options, that will continue to be part of our educational programing. While not the same as being face-to-face, it has increased our ability to reach businesses that previously found it challenging to make time to participate.
Additionally, communication will continue to be at the core of what we do. Outreach to the community on members’ services, programs and events is critical to ensure ongoing economic regrowth. Businesses will fall into new routines and find new measures of success. That success will be different for everyone and The Chamber will continue to be there providing support along the way.
What I am most hopeful for in the coming year is that the sense of community continues. Adams County has rallied around businesses most impacted to lift them up during times of need. It has been during this time that we have seen countless shining stars emerge. That is the strength our community brings and will need to maintain in the coming year. I believe we will continue to rally and move forward, but it will take time, hard work and ongoing commitment. We all play a role in the economic success of our local businesses and we are #AdamsCountyTogether.