Despite the dire economic news, as a result of reduced economic activity from strict public health measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, there are reasons to be hopeful.
Both the Strait Area and Antigonish Chambers of Commerce told The Reporter they are actually seeing slight increases in membership numbers.
Antigonish Chamber of Commerce executive director John Beaton said some businesses are learning how to operate on-line, and others are applying for programs and appraising their financial situation. Their members have specific concerns surrounding fixed costs, loans, assets, and payroll.
Susan Fox, the acting executive director of the Strait Chamber said business owners are trying to figure out how to continue operating and adhering to social distancing measures, and how to make changes to operations, while still remaining profitable.
This spirit of creative thinking exhibited by businesses in the Strait area which have adapted their operations by making physical changes to their facilities, offering delivery services, expanding their on-line presence, or changing the products and services they offer, is why The Reporter’s parent company started its “Shine On” campaign.
Advocate Media launched the campaign last week with the aim of shining a light on those making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the next several weeks, select Advocate Media community publications, including The Reporter, will call on readers to highlight the local businesses who deserve a moment in the spotlight.
Advocate Media believes it’s important to support businesses and help them through these challenging times. The nominees will have the chance of winning a free advertising package in The Reporter to use when that business is ready to ramp up.
Without a doubt there are serious economic and financial obstacles to overcome. Those lucky enough to still be open have had to change operations and adhere to new protocols at their own expense, while others are doing so with a skeleton staff after having to lay-off some employees to cut costs.
Meanwhile, some of their consumers are unemployed or employed but with less money in their pockets.
Knowing the severity of the situation, Advocate Media president Crystal Murray said this is the time for community newspapers and the local business community to pull together. She said it is vital during these unusual times to shine a light on local businesses.
On The Reporter’s Web site, readers will find a link to “Shine On” where they will be asked to contribute information about local businesses. Readers will be able to leave words of encouragement for a local business, share ways in which businesses unconventionally continue their operations, detail how a local business continues to serve customers, or highlight a business that has gone above and beyond in the community. The editor can select special stories from the nominations to publish in the newspaper and on-line.
As public health measures are lifted, three businesses will be awarded an advertising package valued at $3,000. When the successful nominees are ready to resume normal operations, The Reporter will be there.
For more information about “Shine On,” visit the Advocate Media Web site at: advocatemediainc.com, The Reporter’s Web site at: porthawkesburyreporter.com, or by following The Reporter on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To directly access the link, go to: https://porthawkesburyreporter.com/shine-on/.
This is a time for everyone to work together and support each other, and it is no different for the local newspaper and the business community. A healthy relationship makes sense even in normal times, but in these unprecedented times, it is essential.
We hope our readers take us up on this offer, we hope the deserving businesses benefit from these advertising packages, and we hope that our region can weather this virus.
Most of all we hope the Premier is right; better days are coming.