The North Branch Area Chamber of Commerce, serving the cities of North Branch, Stacy, Harris and Almelund and surrounding communities, is working with businesses struggling during the recent pandemic, and are offering advice and precautions to take when looking ahead.

“A lot of us are adapting to the new ways of doing businesses so that we can stay open and in operation for those we serve and for our employees. That being said, so many more of us are looking for ways to mitigate their losses while trying to utilize the disaster relief programs available,” Chamber Executive Director Julia Gervais said. “I think that the hardest struggle for most of us though, is that we just don’t know when or how this situation will resolve.”

As part of the chamber’s mission to enhance the relationship between business and community for a vibrant future, staff are working to stay up-to-date on current data, as well as programs available to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“Our chamber has worked hard to understand the avenues of help there are for our businesses and our residents. If you are struggling to find the resources you specifically need, reach out to our chamber so we can help point you in the right direction. This can save you so much time and stress,” Gervais said. “Also, if your business has an update that needs to go out to the community, let us know and we can share your information on our media platforms. We want you to know there is help out there, and we can help you find it.”

During this time, there are a wide variety of programs in place for businesses to take advantage of, according to Gervais.

“There are many programs available, so I would recommend visiting our website for more information on this. At this time, our chamber is sharing vital webinars, trainings, conference calls, and information with our membership and the community,” Gervais said.

While there are multiple legit programs available, the chamber also encourages businesses to be cautious of scams.

“Be aware of scams regarding COVID-19 and the Disaster Relief Programs. Do your research on any offers, be mindful while opening your emails as phishing is on the rise,” Gervais said. “We hope that all of you have the supports you need to get through these challenging times and encourage you to call our office if you should have any questions.”

In addition to offering support to businesses, the chamber also encourages the community to offer support as well.

“Check on your favorite businesses! Follow them on social media for updates on what they are doing during this time and how they are adapting. You could also send words of encouragement, or even write them a review,” Gervais said.

“Letting our businesses know that we are there for them is essential to raise their spirits and could even get them a new customer or two! If you can shop local, now is the time to do it. Just remember to be safe and follow the protocol of the CDC, your local officials, and the experts,” Gervais added.

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