We aren’t wrong in saying that even just six months ago we thought we’d be sharing hot cocoa and coffee, hot toddies and wassail by now. At a time when our community would normally be singing about “the most wonderful time of the year,” it’s an understatement to say that 2020 has had other plans. If you’ve replaced ‘wonderful’ with some other choice words, I promise, you are not alone.
I’ve asked small business owners time and time again, “What keeps you up at night?” The answers I used to get had to do with regulations or the ability to retain quality employees. This year, the most common response has been, “How am I going to survive this when everything I have is wrapped up in this business?”
The economic impact of the pandemic has hit our community in a significant way. The Chamber of Commerce exists to support and grow our economy by supporting local business. Unapologetically. Even in a pandemic; ESPECIALLY in a pandemic.
Our role here at the Prineville – Crook County Chamber is as follows:
- Provide valued support to chamber members through the provision of direct services for business development; leadership development, education; marketing: and community promotion.
- Make the Prineville-Crook County Chamber the best business and community resource citizens look to for information, support, & leadership in the region.
- Serve as the convener and coalition builder around areas of development, economic importance, and other issues critical to our region.
- Champion business development, a vital economy and high value community, as foundations to quality of life in our region
- Connect to other like-minded organizations in the Central Oregon region to create a collective voice that in turn strengthens livability and vitality in Crook County.
- Make Crook County and Prineville a destination of choice in which to do business as well as to live, work, and play.
We often talk about how supporting locally-owned businesses is what keeps us unique and what keeps us “Prineville Strong”. Here is the bitter pill: THIS year, especially, shopping local is what is going to keep our Prineville businesses ALIVE. Wanna know something else? We do not have to choose between safety and commerce.
Yes, shopping looks different this year, but Crook County is still open for business. You can shop safely (masks ON please), support your community, and make a significant difference in the lives of your friends and neighbors. This isn’t about politics or your opinion on mask-wearing – this is about preserving what makes this community special before it’s too late.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, ‘when a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in the community. In fact, one study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the community with only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer.’ I’ll be the first to admit it, but we all shop chain retailers. Some of these businesses are chamber members, and they are a vital part of any community. However, let’s not forget the locals – the ones who support your kiddo’s baseball team or local programs, who volunteer their time and give to nearly every non-profit in this community. Our small businesses need your support NOW.
According to the small business support organization Independent We Stand, “If just half the U.S. employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.”
I have a challenge for you: Shift $100 of your holiday budget this month to a locally owned, independent business. If you don’t have $100, spend $50. If you don’t feel comfortable going inside, most shops will walk products or gift cards out to your car if you’ll only ask.
This is the part of the story where we decide to become our own Prince Charming and RESCUE OURSELVES – together! Let’s share this challenge with the community, your friends and family. Let’s post about it on social media with the hashtags #100DollarChallenge and #shopprineville . Let’s check in to and tag these businesses on social media and post pics of who you are supporting. Together we can do this, and this time next year, no matter what, we will all be better for it.