Hello friends. We are so thankful for the opportunity to share with you over the next few weeks. Like everyone, we are learning new ways to adjust during these times. Show of hands—who has logged into an online meeting and jumped when they saw their own face? Or maybe your kids, apparently held hostage by Xbox and you haven’t seen for hours, startle you by showing up just as you’re starting an online meeting. That’s been my reality lately.

On a much more serious note, as you might imagine, many of our Chamber Members are currently struggling to navigate their businesses through this pandemic. I have always commended small business owners for taking the leap of faith and providing our small town with local options for shopping and dining. Our small businesses make our quaint little town more appealing to travelers, compelling them to stay, eat and shop in Fort Payne. Many times, travelers decide to make this their forever home.

Can you imagine the ghost town Fort Payne would be if our small businesses closed down, locking their doors and shuttering their windows for good? I don’t even like thinking about it. One key criterion for industry to open up shop and continue to grow, is for their employees to have sufficient local options to stay, eat and shop. A lack of small businesses would be a detriment to Fort Payne and surrounding communities.

So, what can you do to make sure we keep on keeping on? If you have been blessed with retaining your job or even receiving temporary unemployment compensation, I believe you can help. We can all help. For instance, have you thought about paying a bill, or a portion thereof, for a local small business closed due this pandemic? Perhaps you are in a position to reach out to your favorite business—retailer, restaurant, cosmetologist/barber, massage therapist or others that come to mind—and help them with a bill, or you can go straight to their utilities provider or landlord and make a payment on their behalf. In the grand scheme of things, if we band together, it only takes a small amount of money from each of us to make a huge impact.

Please follow Fort Payne Chamber on Facebook we are going live and will be offering virtual networking starting next week. In fact, Thursday, May 7th we will conduct our first virtual Success in Sixty, be sure and sign up, it’s free. You can visit www.fortpaynechamber.com or send an email to jennifer@fortpaynechamber.com with any questions or comments.