Chamber & GEDC survey local businesses on impact of COVID-19

A recent survey conducted by the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and the Grundy Economic
Development Council yielded positive news from the business community. Over 70 percent of the
respondents indicated they were “very confident” their business would survive the recent hardships
caused by the pandemic.

“The Grundy County business community has once again demonstrated its determination, resilience and
inventive spirit to make it through a very difficult time in our community’s economy,” said Nancy
Norton, GEDC President & CEO. “But local business also sent a strong message to the community, they
need YOU and your support.”

The COVID 19 impact was felt by nearly 75 percent of the businesses surveyed with corresponding
impacts to employees. The widespread nature is reflective in the current Grundy County May
unemployment rate of 13.8 percent. Although a staggering number, the good news is that in the coming
months, 14 percent plan to increase staffing while only 8 percent anticipate furloughing or laying off
employees, Norton said. The business community is, however, concerned about trying to get employees
back to work. Nearly 20 percent of companies mentioned the challenges of bringing staff back to the
work place.

“Almost everyone agrees with the concept of shop local, but now more than ever, it cannot just be a
slogan,” said Christina Van Yperen, Grundy County Chamber President & CEO. “Purchases as simple as
reams of paper or bottled water bought locally go a long way. We ask all businesses, organizations and
municipalities to really consider how they can change their supply chain to local.”
Nearly 40 percent of surveyed businesses lost more than 25 percent of revenue, with a few as high as 75
percent. A great majority of the businesses have reopened and now they need customers, need
revenue, and need the community.

What can business do? “Evaluate what you are buying for your place of business and think about what
can be purchased locally,” Van Yperen said. Perhaps it is copy paper, printing, catering or a host of other
activities that you can purchase in your local community.

Government entities like schools, municipalities, and Grundy County can also play an active role in
supporting local businesses with similar purchases, Norton said. Lastly, despite the convenience of
buying online, community residents need to make an extra effort to shop local stores to help in the
recovery. We can all help during this difficult time in our communities.

For more information on COVID-19 resources visit gedc.com or grundychamber.com. For the latest
Grundy County COVID-19 data visit grundycounty.org.

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