It was the calm before the storm. On Monday the team was strategizing, planning and executing programs and events on behalf of the business community, by Friday it had all stopped. It stopped dead because of a microorganism. A tiny parasite that is generally much smaller than bacteria.
And then it hit. As with any organization, we began by postponing events, canceling venues, calling service providers, changing travel plans, and refocusing our marketing efforts.
Next up, we asked ourselves, how can the Chamber support our local businesses and organizations right now? We started making phone calls to ask how we can help get business messages out to the community.
What challenges are you facing today?
Soon the business support information began to circulate, at first, it rolled in as bite-sized pieces, but quickly turned into information by firehose. The BC Chamber & Canadian Chamber efforts have been of paramount importance in sharing and updating chambers with the latest material from the Provincial and Federal Governments. Almost daily conference calls and webinars share information within the network which in turn allows us to share it with the community. The Mission Chamber created a one-stop website page to house all of the news.
The Mission Chamber has also created a weekly “Virtual Coffee” and “Happy Hour” for people to connect, strategize and learn more about the support systems in place. This Wednesday (April 8) we are having a very important “Coffee” session with a special guest Peter Janis (whose business accomplishments are too long to list here). The FREE session is focusing on business continuity and recovery. Now is the time to do some business “housekeeping”. Coming soon will be a series of virtual workshops with a focus on professional development to replace the classroom programs previously scheduled.
The Chamber Team are working from separate locations right now, but we are very much working together to support local business during this time of crisis. We are working in step with the local MP, MLA’s, District of Mission, Downtown Business Association and Community Futures, North Fraser. We want businesses to understand they are not alone in this and the support-planning continues daily and we are only a call or email away. Stay strong everyone, stay safe and support each other.
Executive Director of the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce.