Saying 2020 has been an interesting and challenging year does not begin to address what all of us have faced and continue to face. The way we handle all facets of our life including business transactions, social interactions, family functions and daily activities, have been impacted. With all that being said, I have been blessed to be a part of the community in which I live and work. The resilience of our business community is amazing. I have witnessed numerous examples of innovation and creativity from businesses to serve their customers, as well as an outpouring of support from our community for those same businesses. Spring Hill has experienced some additional challenges due to its unique position in both Maury County and Williamson County, with each county having different COVID-19 related requirements. Communication has been a crucial component for everyone in Spring Hill to clarify how to interact and complete simple activities like shopping, dining, entertaining, etc.
The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce has also had to reevaluate how to support our membership and the community. Normal functions like ribbon cuttings, luncheons, workshops, and other activities have been severely impacted due to safety concerns and limitations in place due to COVID-19. The Chamber Staff has been working tirelessly to revamp these activities to meet the needs of our membership. By leveraging social media, virtual events, and limiting attendance, they have been successful in providing the exposure for our business owners and learning opportunities similar to pre-COVID levels. Our largest and one of the most impactful events of the year, Experience Spring Hill the Event, has been postponed and is back in the planning stage. This Event provides a direct link for business to business and business to consumer contact, which is even more important in light of our current situation. Recognizing the importance of this event, the team will strive to find a safe alternative, so please stay tuned for updates.
The Chamber has been a reliable source of communication of information for everyone in the community. They have used social media networks and other channels to communicate updates on changes related to rules, where to go for assistance, upcoming events and presentations, and most important affirm that businesses are indeed open! It is difficult for all of us to stay on top of the daily changes from leadership at the State, County, and City level, but that is where the Chamber has shined, as a one-stop resource for these updates. The team has been in direct contact with organizations providing relief, including the SBA, State, and local agencies providing grants to businesses, and offering a road map to our members to find these agencies to leverage the available support. The Chamber website and social media posts have included the schedule of important announcements and learning opportunities available and the when, how and where to access. The most important message, broadcasted daily, is that our members are Open for Business!
Financially, everyone is feeling the impact of Covid-19, with the Chamber not being excluded. I am very happy to say our membership remains strong with new members continuing to join and existing members renewing, demonstrating the value of the Chamber. As noted, our large events are currently nonexistent, which is another viable revenue source for the chamber. The Board of Directors has decided to offer the virtual events and other resources free of charge to our members, understanding the importance of providing these resources to our members during this time. We have also maintained our current staff to ensure a level of support outlined in our strategic goals. To ensure our viability going forward, the Chamber has leveraged some of the financial support offered as a result of COVID-19. This decision was not taken lightly and has been executed in a manner that will not put a long-term burden on the Chamber and future Chamber leadership. The goal is to maintain a level of service and support to our members and the community that they have grown to expect and can continue to count on.
While these are challenging times, it has been proven that we can adapt and continue to be successful through communication, ingenuity, and supporting each other. Thank you for supporting the Chamber and other community organizations that have risen above their normal call of duty during this unprecedented year. The need for their mission statements is now unequivocally evident and our community is forever indebted.
- Rob Ferrara, Spring Hill Chamber Chairman of the Board, First Farmers and Merchants Bank