Chambers Promote Businesses, Support Community in Time of Crisis, Uncertainty

What actions have you taken in regards to COVID-19 and your business community?

Sarah Watts
Vice President, Workforce and Community Partnerships
Gilbert (AZ) Chamber

We have created and are regularly engaging four Facebook groups:

• COVID-19 Business Resource Page (Facebook): This group allows businesses to access and share resources as we support one another through the COVID-19 outbreak.

• Gilbert Area Takeout and Delivery Options (Facebook): Join this group to view the menus and takeout and delivery options provided by our Gilbert area restaurants and caterers.

• Gilbert Area Non-Profit Response Page (Facebook): Join this group to learn about the opportunities for outreach, volunteerism and support of our nonprofit community partners.

• Temporary Employment Board (Facebook): Businesses with open positions may post employment opportunities on this board to provide temporary work for employees displaced as a result of COVID-19.

We are the cohosts of a weekly business teleconference with our mayor and the Office of Economic Development to share updates and resources. We are also posting a weekly CEO recap.

We conducted an eight-city survey and posted the results. And, of course, we are being creative with our social media platforms to encourage, among others, use of service businesses, video messages to our elderly community and support of our nonprofits.

All of these items can be found on our resource page,

Kelle Marsalis, CCE, IOM/
President and CEO/
Plano (TX) Chamber

We took a note from the canceled Houston Livestock show and are creating a Facebook marketplace for our small business members to market their goods and services and make known which restaurants were staying open for takeout. We received responses from about 500 members in just a couple days and will make it public as soon as Facebook allows us.

We repurposed our website as an information center with links to resources, as well as links to shift jobs and companies hiring. Then we started sending out as needed mass emails about updates and regulatory information about shutdowns and more.

We used Zoom to host our weekly small business networking. Next, we started calling every single member to just ask how they are doing.

Moving forward, we are producing a video series and campaign on applying for SBA disaster loans in partnership with our city, and we also want to do a Young Professionals campaign called “I’m young, I’m healthy, and I’m staying home.”

Tara Doyle-Enneking
President and CEO
Puyallup Sumner (WA) Chamber

We are conducting weekly video teleconference calls and Facebook Live videos, referred to as Chamber, City, County Connects You, with leaders in our community. These videos include reports from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pierce County COVID-19 Business Impact and Economic Development directors, the MultiCare Health Systems senior vice president, the Federal Emergency Agency certified disaster relief chaplain, the Washington State Hospitality CEO, local and state public and elected officials, and business owners.

We have created on our website four designated COVID-19 business resource landing pages, which include resources for businesses and employers, health and safety information, takeout and delivery eateries and local business updates. During this time, we have opened these resources for all businesses and restaurants in our community, including non-members, recognizing the opportunity to demonstrate goodwill in our region, show the value of chamber advocacy and hopefully garner the support of potential new members once things return to a new norm.

One small gesture we made that has gone a long way to helping our downtown businesses is partnering with the City of Puyallup to obtain orange cones that we could place in front of restaurants offering takeout. This provided the restaurants one reserved parking spot in front of their establishment for patrons to be able to conveniently park curbside to pick up their takeout food. We have taken that one step further, partnering with local businesses on a unified marketing campaign called “We Are Puyallup” and have asked a local sign vendor to provide our new logo branding on sandwich boards to the businesses that are open, again to mark the business as OPEN, and to provide a resilient message that we stand together to support one another.

We strive every day to try something new to promote and connect businesses with one another, provide connections for members to creatively exchange services, and of course to advocate at the local, state and federal levels. It’s a great time to be a chamber. We are certainly demonstrating our value!