Since the founding of the very first chamber of commerce in 1599, chambers have always sought to build and support their local businesses and communities. Now, in the time of a global pandemic, eastern North Carolina’s local chambers of commerce are working collaboratively to help their members survive and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses has been well-documented. Seemingly no one has been spared from a certain degree of discomfort or hardship, and it has been especially burdensome on businesses that rely on regular contact and personal engagement with their customers. These businesses are at the heart of every local chamber of commerce: organizations dedicated exclusively to building markets and communities where these businesses have a chance to succeed.
Since the outset of this crisis, chambers of commerce have assumed visible leadership roles in their communities, looked upon for messages of hope, optimism, and resilience. While steering local businesses to accurate and useful assistance, they’ve also been calling on action from elected officials, and encouraging commerce that complies with public health guidance. Their work will be even more important in the future, as all of our markets rebound from the economic challenges that await.
The collective missions of eastern North Carolina chambers share a common ambition for sustained prosperity in our communities and region, built on thriving employers. It is through the generous support of our members that we have been able to support our communities in various ways throughout our histories. Now, during this trying time, the support of our members is vitally important and appreciated as it ensures the viability of our organizations.
Now, more than ever before, your chambers are trumpeting the needs of our members and communities throughout the halls of Congress and in Raleigh. Every step of the way, chamber staff are diligently monitoring and, as needed, influencing policy so that the needs of our Region are addressed with the urgency and authority that this pandemic warrants. Know that the collective voice of our chambers carries the weight of our 4,000 member organizations and we’re doing everything in our power to support our business communities.
Let’s take heart in knowing that we will all get through this. And when we do, eastern North Carolina chambers will be there to assist our members and communities in the post-pandemic era. When the time is right, we’ll reengage our in-person networking events and reconnect our members with their peers and partners so that recovery can gain momentum.
While this pandemic poses new challenges, our commitment to our communities during times of need is not. Whether it was Hurricane Florence, Mathew, or Floyd, each of our communities have experienced some form of disaster in recent years. And, like disasters in the past, our collaboration will again be the catalyst that carries us forward. It won’t be easy. But we will get through this. As a community and as a region. Together.
Kate M. Daniels, Wayne County Chamber
David Farris, Rocky Mount Area Chamber
Catherine Glover, Washington-Beaufort County Chamber
Craig Hill, Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber
Tom Kies, Carteret County Chamber
Denise Nowell, Zebulon Chamber
Kevin Roberts, New Bern Area Chamber
Ryan Simmons, Wilson Chamber
Kate Teel, Greenville-Pitt County Chamber