Local economic conditions can be likened to an adapted Charles Dickens novel, A Tale of Two Businesses. Depending upon the industry, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
At the Redding Chamber of Commerce we seek to find out how our business community is faring, in good times and in bad. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought great prosperity to some and despair to others. To those doing exceptionally well, we say “keep it going”. To those struggling, we say “we’ve got your back”. Like the parable of the lost sheep, our focus always turns to those in need of our help. To that end, we have been relentless in our advocacy efforts in the city halls and city council chambers of Anderson, Redding, and the City of Shasta Lake, as well as at the County of Shasta and in front of the Board of Supervisors. In total, we have been able to make available, or helped distribute, $5.5 million dollars in business grants, laser-focused on helping the businesses and nonprofits most adversely affected by the pandemic.
In our most recent $4 million-dollar grant program, funded by the federal CARES Act and appropriated by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, 486 grants were awarded in every corner of the county. The average grant was roughly $8,000. We recognize that the need is far greater than these available resources, and we will continue to keep our public partners updated for future funding consideration as a second federal stimulus is possible in the near future.
Soon, businesses and nonprofits throughout California will be competing for a piece of the $500 million dollars that will be made available as early as December 18th. To best prepare your business for consideration, Joe Rodola at the Small Business Development Center says to have at the ready your 2019 tax return, 2019 & 2020 profit & loss statements, and the 2019 & 2020 balance sheets. We will let you know the moment the application goes LIVE. We also anticipate that Congress will come to terms with a new emergency relief bill, which is likely to include more funding for businesses. Again, you can count on us to bring the updated information to you the moment we get the word. You can also sign up to receive updates HERE.
The winter months will hopefully bring with them adequate rain and snow to nourish the north state farms, fill the lakes, and blanket the mountains. For north state businesses, we must do our best as a community to shower them with our business by truly making a commitment to shop local. The call to shop local is a mantra among Chambers of Commerce and yet it is so crucial now. Remember that dollars spent in local shops and restaurants help our friends and neighbors by providing jobs and by helping to fund essential public services such as police and fire fighters through the sales tax we pay. I have been impressed with the local adoption of convenient delivery options and more robust online marketplaces that make shopping in the community as easy as a couple clicks of the mouse or tap of the finger on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Be sure to check out our latest effort to encourage shopping local later in this newsletter.
We look forward to continued progress in our collective battle against COVID-19 and we believe we will soon return to the normal community calendar filled with the festivals, car shows, rodeos, theater, and sporting events we’ve come to expect as winter chills fade and the promise of spring instills hope even in “the worst of times.”