Graham Chamber measuring COVID-19 economic impact with survey
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Graham Chamber of Commerce is collecting information through a local business health survey intended to show the organization where it can be allocating its resources during this time in helping local businesses.
Graham Chamber of Commerce Manager Lisa Kinkead said the survey as of now has no end date, but is meant to get a pulse on how the community has been affected.
“We created the survey so we could try to gauge how the pandemic was affecting the businesses here in our community, so that we would know to try to help us, as a chamber, see the best we that we can serve our members and help them in the best way that we could,” Kinkead said.
Some of the questions asked on the survey are what percentage of revenue loss has your local business experienced related to the pandemic and how many employees have possibly been laid off as a result. Kinkead said the chamber is looking to how they can best act to best serve businesses affected during this time.
“If they are having to lay-off employees or close their doors completely, obviously that’s going to have a negative effect on our economy so we need to watch that so we as a chamber of commerce can try to get ahead of it and do what can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to close their doors and so we want to make sure we can help them get those SBA loans and payroll loans or whatever it is, so we can keep their doors open.”
The chamber has a banner for local updates on COVID-19 on their website with a link to the survey, Small Business Administration loan documents, Texas Workforce Commission resources and local meeting information, along with other resources. The chamber is hosting Facebook Live videos each week with information to keep the community abreast of all the information they need to know, Kinkead said.
“We are trying to get as much information out to the community as possible with doing the different Facebook Lives with the healthcare, the accountants. We have one scheduled next week with Graham Psychological Associates and we are trying to make sure that we get as much positive information and correct information out to the community as we can,” she said.
Through the survey, the chamber hopes to find answers to more specific questions involving businesses locally.
“A lot of what we want to find out is how much has their business been affected, are they having to lay-off employees,” she said. “How much business have they lost due to the pandemic, is their business hurting, are they losing money, are they having to close completely, so that we can gauge what economic effect the virus is having on our community itself (...) versus we know it is having a nationwide effect, but what kind of effect is it having here on Graham.”
Kinkead said the chamber is not unaffected by the virus as all their employees are working from home and large April events by the chamber had to be canceled.
“The chamber is very hands-on, face-to-face with all of our members, so we are not able to do that. Also we have had to cancel events and that’s something that we never (do), we don’t cancel events no matter what and we are having to cancel events,” she said. “We were supposed to have Crawfish and Cannons tomorrow (Saturday), so we had an event pretty much on every weekend in April and they have all been canceled, so that, of course, is going to have a huge effect on the chamber and the CVB.”
The chamber is also trying to connect to businesses in a way to help promote them and said others in the community have stepped up in that regard.
“We are also trying to come up with some different campaigns that will help connect retail and restaurants and the community with their drive-up and their curbside and online shopping,” she said. “Some of our retailers have set up an online Shop Graham (America) Facebook page where everybody can shop online.”
The chamber is calling all of their members in order to check on them and see what they can do to help. Kinkead said even running an errand because the business cannot leave is something they are willing to do or find the resources to accomplish.
“We just want to make sure everybody knows, the chamber is here, all of our employees are still here and we are still available,” she said. “Even if it is something people wouldn’t normally call one of us, myself or Krisa (De La Cruz) or Grant (Ingram) for, if somebody needs something whether it be emotional, financial, an errand run, we want them to know that they can call us. The three of us are here and if we can’t personally do it, we will find someone who can. So, we just want everyone to realize that we’re here, we are available by phone, email or text and anytime, and we will make whatever it is that they need happen. We’ve got the resources, we’ve got the contacts and we will make sure that whatever it is we want to make sure this community stays together and we get through this.”
To find the chamber’s local business health survey, visit surveymonkey.com/r/GrahamChamber. The chamber can be reached at their office at 940-549-3355, or by their emails available at grahamtexas.net/grow/staff/.