The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce to shake up its strategy.
“One of the biggest things the Chamber focuses on is bringing people together and being a conduit for businesses and the community,” said Sara Neer, executive director of the organization.
Since in-person interaction has come to a stop the Chamber has been focusing on virtual communications, utilizing video conferencing, email, and social media.
When the state of Ohio restricted restaurants and bars to carry-out only, staff immediately went to work creating a central location on the Champaign County Visitors Bureau Website for restaurant listings and menus. This resulted in a 600% increase in Facebook followers and website traffic.
When the state issued the Stay at Home Order, the Chamber moved its First Friday networking event to the video conferencing software Zoom and scheduled a Virtual Open House on its Facebook page that is set to take place April 10.
In order to help members keep up with the ever-changing information and resources, the Chamber set up a COVID-19 Business Resource Page on its website, champaignohio.com. The page is updated daily as new information and resources become available including SBA loans, executive orders, and employment law updates.
Selling T-shirts online
Most recently the Chamber launched a fundraiser for local businesses, selling T-shirts in an online storefront. The link can be found on the homepage of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce website, champaignohio.com. Upon check out purchasers will type in the name of the business to receive a $10 donation per item. The first phase of the fundraiser will run April 3-April 18.
Neer says, “We wanted to find a way to unite the community while showing support for the small businesses and organizations that are struggling as a result of this crisis.”
Submitted by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerc.