The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is causing a global health emergency, and a global economic slowdown. Trade, investment, growth, and employment are all affected and the crisis has had an impact on businesses all throughout Riverside County.
Sure, by now we’ve all seen the warnings of the “to-dos” and “not to dos” from various news sources as well as the numerous messages, videos and pictorials from the World Health Organization and CDC. Richard Perry who is the owner of VIP Autos in Hemet and chairman of the Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce had some thoughts on the pandemic that is all real to us now.
HSJC: How has the global pandemic affected you? Richard Perry: “I and the other community businesses “have never seen anything like this”. As a small-business owner, I have seen the impact on my floor traffic that I depend on and that know other businesses that have made painful adjustments by not paying themselves and putting their employees first, or even cutting them down too. We will get through this, just as we have undergone other crises in the past. Local coffee shops, bars, restaurants and some other retailers may find it harder to bounce back, but there will be a pent-up demand for those goods and services that may bring a full recovery in a short time.”
HSJC: What advice do you suggest for the local business owners during this time period? Richard Perry: “The chamber and I suggest the business owners to get to know their vendors a little more and even ask them for help. Business owners should engage “with their cellphones” to keep in touch with each other to trade ideas and other things that might improve or prolong their business during the crisis more than ever.
Take the time to review your website if you have one and update or improve them until the business can reopen. You might find mistakes in them. Contact previous owners and customers to learn what helped them or what they are looking for and wish them well. Don’t forget to use the chamber and all their resources to help your businesses grow. Just do not fade in the background and stop your messaging.”
HSJC: Is there anything else that you’d like to add? Richard Perry: “Although the president signed the CARE bill, merchants and businessmen won’t know when that help will come. Many of the chamber golf tournaments, ribbon cuttings, reverse drawing and other chamber events have had to be canceled or rescheduled due to the coronavirus. It’s been the toughest”, even for my own business…still, we are not giving up.” Also, use your resources.
The Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber webpage, https://www.hemetsanjacintochamber.com, available with the latest business information for members and the general public. Cindy Lemke the Chamber CEO recorded a number of videos designed to try to help small businesses in the Valley survive through the crisis and a list of what are considered “essential services.”
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