We’re all living in tumultuous times. Our lives have been up-ended from the everyday normal. We know we’re going to make it through; we know that our future will be brighter on the other side on this pandemic.
In this unprecedented moment, the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce has been a resource to our business community. Small businesses are the backbone of America, representing 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses (SBA, 2019) and 47.5% of U.S. employees (SBA, 2018). From the beginning of the shutdown in Arlington, the Chamber brought in experts from our government and various organizations to provide context and instructions on applying for federal loans to keep businesses open.
The Chamber created a task force, in partnership with the City of Arlington, bringing in community business leaders to discuss the best way to support small businesses as we reopen. Also, thanks to a generous donation from Tarrant County, the Chamber and City distributed more than 100,000 masks to local small businesses.
A Facebook Live webinar series with more than 65 hours of content and 50,000 views bloomed out of this pandemic. Beginning on Friday, March 20, with our Small Business Administration District Director, Herb Austin, discussing Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), the Business Leaders Series Online has now featured our Governor, both U.S. Senators, both U.S. Congressmen, our State Comptroller, two of our State Senators and many more. It has allowed the business community in Arlington to connect with our elected officials and have an open dialogue, and it was open to anyone not just those that are members of the Chamber.
However, it’s what you do behind closed doors – what’s not broadcast to the masses – that makes the biggest difference. The Chamber’s staffed called each of their 1,200 members to personally check in, ask how they are doing and see what they needed.
Any Chamber member that could not pay their dues was given an extra 90 days. They continued with all their networking events virtually, allowing members to connect and share with one another during this time. Although we cannot gather in person, we still feel a sense of belonging, support in this community. Through the Chamber’s virtual meetings, business leaders can encourage each other, build strategic partnerships to keep their businesses moving forward and persevere together.
The Greater Arlington Chamber’s motto is something they live and work by every day – Together, We Succeed. Together is how were going to through this, and the Chamber is here for you, for our businesses, to champion economic and community prosperity.
Britton Merritt is Senior Director of Marketing & Communications at the Chamber.