by Brian Buethe, President | CEO, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development
April Newsletter Article
I start almost every day by checking the news. It’s been a part of my routine for years, because in my line of work, it is important to know what is happening in the local community and around the world. I expect that many people have had this same routine because they need to be informed for their jobs or just because they enjoy being in the know. Over the past month, I expect that a lot more people have adopted similar habits, but for a much more ominous reason; to stay updated on the global pandemic.
Some may understand that, for us to do our job well, Grimes Chamber & Economic Development (GCED) must build and maintain a lot of relationships. GCED is comprised of over three-hundred businesses and local organizations. We are always busy trying to advance and improve the status of our local economy. We want our members to be successful, because a strong business sector is the underpinning for a strong community. The jobs and the wealth creation that businesses drive allow people to live better, more fulfilling lives, than they might otherwise experience.
When something interrupts just about every aspect of life, like COVID-19 has impacted our world, people suffer, families suffer, businesses suffer, and organizations suffer. There are very few, if any, who have not been impacted so far by COVID-19 and we still don’t really know what will happen in the coming months. Even the immediate future is unclear.
When we have discussions with our members (whom we also consider friends), we learn much. Some have been severely impacted; they’ve had to lay off employees, change hours, reduce level of service, etc. Others are still able to operate, but don’t know how long they will be able to hang in there because when people are unsure of their future, they start holding tight to money they might have previously put into the marketplace. Many business owners and their employees are nervous, and some are scared. The new government programs will help some, but they will not make everyone whole. Some businesses and jobs will be lost.
Still, despite all this dire news, there are some unmistakable silver linings. Some businesses rise to the occasion and, regardless of the less than stellar conditions, need to hire people (i.e. essential grocery and retail services). We’ve seen terrific examples of businesses doing their best to adapt and receiving support from the community (see local restaurants as an example). Churches and companies that usually bring people together are finding ways to modify, so they can continue to interact with their members/customers.
We’ve also observed the good people of Grimes and surrounding communities step up and do their best to be supportive of local businesses during this difficult time. People seem to make sincere efforts to order food to go from our local restaurants, so that one day, we can have the opportunity to patronize them in their dining rooms and again tip the servers who we sometimes previously took for granted. Teachers have paraded around town to lift the spirits of their students. Neighbors seem to be helping neighbors even more than usual.
It is also worth noting that many people are doing their jobs from home, so that they can keep themselves and others safe. While still others are going to work, providing essential services, even when they might prefer to be at home (i.e. health care workers, critical retail workers, logistics professionals, and many more too numerous to mention). You are all appreciated and inspiring.
Grimes, Iowa was a growing and vibrant community long before COVID-19 existed and is still amazing, despite the monkey wrench that the Coronavirus has thrown into the mix. Until a more familiar sense of normality returns, we at Grimes Chamber & Economic Development encourage you to take the necessary and recommended precautions to keep yourself, your family, your friends, your coworkers, your employees, and your community safe. While we want the community to continue supporting local businesses, please do so in a responsible manner.
Together, we will get through this challenging time. Until that time, do your best to be empathetic to the pain and anxiety that people are experiencing, but also be inspired by all of the good that is happening in the midst of this crisis. #LoveGrimes