January 2021 Membership Report
It has been a year of change! From business owners to citizens, there isn’t one person who hasn’t felt the effects of COVID-19. A crisis on this scale can alter society in dramatic ways, for better or worse, and we are all reminded of it every time we leave our homes. I look forward to the day when masks are not necessary, we do not second guess a handshake, and we can hug our grandparents. I must believe we will get back to some of the “normal," while embracing the “new normal.”
We understand first-hand the challenges the entire business community is facing right now. Our team has been working non-stop to continue to connect with our members and provide them, and the entire community, with the most up-to-date resources and information to help navigate through the end of this pandemic.
This past year created many challenges and a lot of disruption. We were able to pivot and assess what we were offering our members and found new ways to support the business community. We started a Facebook group to help members stay up to date on information we were receiving daily, sometimes hourly. Within months we prepared an online COVID-19 toolkit, and encouraged local businesses to take part in our Be Clean. Be Healthy. Be Safe. Pledge. We assisted the City of Pierre in applying for grants by utilizing our membership data, and created a local ecommerce shopping platform for the Pierre area (PierreArea.ShopWhereILive.Com) to continue encouraging shopping #Loyal2Local. Using that platform, we created the ‘May Day Extravaganza’ promotion in which we were able to stimulate nearly $8,000 in revenue for local merchants through gift card purchases in one day, and just recently held a ‘Dashing to the Dough’ holiday promotion in conjunction with BankWest. Periodically, we provided the community with videos containing information and insight from local leaders like Dr. Holland with Avera St. Mary’s Hospital, Superintendent Dr. Kelley Glodt with the Pierre School District, and Pierre Mayor, Steve Harding. We maintained as many of our normal functions as we could, creating virtual Business After Hours, Ribbon Cuttings/Open Houses, Board Meetings, Committee Meetings, Leadercast, and Taste of Pierre. We even had a few in-person and socially distant events like the Chamber’s Golf Classic, Annual Celebration To-Go, and Meet Santa’s Reindeer.
Our office was able to safely assist tourists throughout COVID-19 with our visitor bags that were prepackaged and available outside the Visitor’s Center. We also developed a relocation packet to fulfill the many inquiries we received from people across the country looking to move to our area.
What this year has made very clear is disruption can facilitate opportunity and long-term positive change. More complex and flexible use of technology, a revived appreciation for the outdoors and life’s simple pleasures, the value of family and friends, and the importance of kindness and grace. I am fortunate to work with such talented and thoughtful coworkers who really care about the work they do and love this community as much as I do.
So here is to 2021 – A year to continue supporting local, innovating, and to creating an improved “new normal!”
Happy New Year!