Small businesses are the backbone of the community and the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce has been working overtime to help them thrive during a challenging time.
To let the community know that local businesses are still open during the pandemic, the Chamber worked quickly to compile a directory on its website that listed adjusted hours, online stores and operational procedures.
“We really wanted to bring the community together and let them know how they could support local business,” Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, Michael Hind says.
“Throughout COVID specifically, we’ve been doing whatever we can to help businesses transition, get online, and get access to funds that they need. Through the initial lockdown, chambers of commerce were really pivotal across B.C. and Canada in getting information from businesses to the government that shaped the programs across the country, including the wage subsidy and small business loan eligibility.”
The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most influential business organization in the Tri-Cities. Its members have the opportunity to network with like-minded business professionals, learn from experts on a variety of topics, and access exclusive benefits and discounts.
“We’re the premier business organization in the Tri-Cities. We’re here to connect, educate and advocate for business in our region. We’re here to help and support businesses,” Hind says.
“Our overarching goal is to promote the Tri-Cities as the best place to live, work and play.”
To support local business through the pandemic, the Tri-Cities Chamber created a COVID-19 guidance and resource page on its website. The webpage breaks down everything available to help businesses navigate through a challenging time, including access to capital, taxation relief for business and provincial support for workers.
“There was a lot of missed communication and a lot of uncertainty about what was available to businesses, so we ensured we were providing the most concise, simple and clear information to support those local businesses and we continue to do that,” Hind says.
The business directory was established as a central place to learn about the local Tri-Cities business community. The Chamber created an online submission and promoted it to all local businesses, even to non-members.
Tri-Cities businesses are operating with enhanced health and safety protocols to keep their communities safe. Many have also pivoted to offer online ordering, with delivery or pick up options. The Chamber’s business directory is an easy way to find out what your favourite local business is offering during this time.
“When you support local business, you’re directly supporting your community,” Hind says.
Local businesses impact a community by supporting local sports teams, events and charities, increasing city revenue which is used for infrastructure improvements, creating jobs in the local community, and creating competition, which leads to better products and services.
“Supporting local business is integral to the community and being part of the Chamber is fundamental to that,” Hind says.
“We advocate for the best of our community.”
Hind encourages all local businesses, from solo entrepreneurs to large companies to join the Chamber of Commerce and take advantage of the services offered to its members.
The Chamber supports entrepreneurs by connecting them to others in their field, providing educational opportunities—including a new slate of webinars, and advocating for business issues on behalf of its members. Membership also provides access to exclusive events, resources, contacts, a membership directory and much more.
“If you’re a business owner who wants to see the Tri-Cities thrive, you should be a part of the Chamber of Commerce,” Hind says.