YOUR membership is vital to the Chamber’s mission to champion business growth and prosperity.
The pandemic has presented some unique challenges both for the community we serve and the businesses within it. Our commitment to our mission remains the same and we continue to work daily to create a thriving business community across Union County.
CONGRESSMAN DAN BISHOP MEETING
YOUR Union County Chamber works hard in a variety of avenues to provide visibility for member businesses.
One recent effort included connecting business owners in the restaurant and hospitality industries to U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop. The Congressman wanted to hear directly from business owners about their experiences and challenges with Paycheck Protection Program loans and the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Informing members in a timely manner about funding updates that affect their businesses is a priority for YOUR Chamber. This includes the update that the Paycheck Protection Program has been extended until May 31.
When the Small Business Administration announced Round 2 of the Paycheck Protection Program, we reached out to our connections to learn more about what that meant for businesses.
Chamber President and CEO Pat Kahle recorded an interview with Levi Kinard, Economic Development Specialist and Walter Lara-Figuero Lender Relationship Specialist. They discussed changes to the program that opened it up to more applicants, as well as adjustments to the allowed uses of PPP funds.
Chamber members enjoy increased visibility for their business, along with resources to help them grow. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, 3 businesses leveraged their membership for success.
Business at Waxhaw Escapes was growing in early 2020. But they had to shut down when the pandemic hit.
The Small Business Center at SPCC was awarded a grant to help connect small businesses with subject matter experts who could help in areas including finance, marketing, social media, and more.
The Union County Chamber partnered with the SBC to ensure members knew about the grant.
Shane Fraser, owner of SNA Today was one of those experts who helped Waxhaw Escape amp up their social media presence and increase visitors to their website.
Watch their video to see how these 3 Chamber members worked together.
PROGRAM UPDATE: DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
One way we endeavor to create a welcoming atmosphere for business and growth is through our programs, including the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Co-Chair David Smith, AAMS, with Edward Jones shares an update of the Committee’s efforts.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee enthusiastically pursues our mission: to bring awareness of diversity and inclusion by empowering our members and community at large. We are actively gathering information, planning programs, providing resources, and disseminating information to help Chamber members consider what extensive research has exhibited. This research reveals organizations that build a more diverse and inclusive workforce frequently reap stronger business results and profits. Employees who have a sense of belonging are often more creative, innovative, loyal, and engaged.
Additionally, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee anticipates that our focus work areas will help to increase the number of minority-owned business start-ups and minority-owned business Chamber members. This committee wants not only to see new businesses started but it is equally important for us to provide resources and programming to minority entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses from infancy to maturity. We believe there will be no better place for them to obtain that support than through membership in the Union County Chamber.
CIRCLE INVESTOR LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
A thriving business community is one that has a welcoming atmosphere for growth and innovation. Circle Investors are members who partner with the Chamber to champion that thriving community. In March, they met virtually with Representative Dean Arp and Senator Todd Johnson from the North Carolina General Assembly for a legislative update.
Attendees shared the challenges they are currently facing to fill current job openings, discussed workforce training needs, talked about how the lack of childcare is impacting workers’ ability to return to work, and how to pay for the substantial infrastructure needs of our state.
It seems there is positive momentum beginning to build as we come to the beginning of the second quarter of 2021. Through the collaborative efforts of Union County government, the Union County Health Department, and local healthcare providers led by Atrium Health, thousands of Union County residents are being vaccinated. Recently the Governor issued Executive Order No. 204 which relaxed some of the COVID-19 restrictions, including those placed on businesses. In recent discussions with business owners in the restaurant, hospitality, and retail sectors, they reported improved optimism due to increased customer traffic plus additional relief from resources like PPP.
While we must continue to spread that momentum throughout our community, especially to those most impacted by the pandemic, we can begin to focus on the next phases of our community’s recovery. For the good of our community, it is imperative we continue to do business, whenever possible, with Union County businesses. Spending our dollars locally supports local residents, nonprofits, and provides much needed financial support for infrastructure and services.
Another sign of this forward momentum is the number of new startups. In recent weeks, we have talked with more new business owners and prospective owners than we have in over a year. They are attracted by the continued growth in the population of our community as well as the ongoing support our community has shown to our existing small businesses.
While our community continues to face challenges, new COVID cases are still being reported, businesses have job openings they are challenged to fill, and rising costs of materials – we also have much to look forward to, the proposed opening of the Monroe Science Center, the grand opening of the Dowd Center Theatre, opening of Atrium Health Union West in Stallings, and much more.
The challenges of the past year have proven that the foundation of a healthy community is a thriving business community. A thriving business community creates jobs, provides a healthy tax base to support infrastructure, and enhances the quality of life for all residents. A strong, innovative Chamber is essential to growing and maintaining a thriving business community.
YOUR Chamber continues to serve our community during this time by providing access to much-needed resources, hosting discussions on a variety of important topics, advocating for our business community at the local, state, and federal levels, connecting businesses with potential customers and convening leaders to formulate solutions to meet the challenges facing Union County businesses.
The Chamber Board of Directors and staff are preparing for the important work of updating the Chamber’s strategic plan. The Chamber is blessed to have partners and investors who believe in and support the work we do. Championing business growth and prosperity is our mission and together, we will continue to move forward to an even brighter future.