by Stevie Kearse, Director, Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce
2020 has served to be the most interesting year in most of our lifetimes. We all started out the year hopeful for a year of success and celebration. Instead, we were faced with numerous challenges that caused us to rethink the way we do business.
Not everyone made it through the challenges 2020 brought us but for those who did, we learned that to be successful you needed to be able to think outside the box, react in an instance, and step out of the traditional “business plan”.
After the heartache has settled and we look back on this year we will see some good. Some were able to spend more time at home with family, some have adapted a new business model they will keep, some realized the things they were doing didn’t really need to be done, and so on.
Always remember that Small Business and our local Entrepreneurs are the heart of our community. Our community is a product of what all of them are doing!
They are the people who spend countless nights thinking about how to:
- Better their businesses.
- Adapt to change.
- Offer better benefits (or any benefits) for their employees.
- Retain AND Grow their customer base.
They dedicate their lives to our community, to their businesses, and to creating a future for our children. They work more than 8 hours a day/40 hour a week. They balance work, life, and community commitments. They do all of this to live the dream of being an Entrepreneur. They are all superheroes and we thank them!
As we close the final chapter of this year, we would like to leave you with a final report on how the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce did through the ups and downs of the year.
The RACC continued to celebrate business. Celebrations looked a little different but all the business anniversaries, new businesses/members, business expansions, etc. matter and we did our part to recognize those events.
Some highlights of the year that stand out to me include:
- The Chamber turned 100 years old and hosted an amazing Centennial Celebration!
- We adjusted to virtual life and hosted virtual networking events until we could meet in person and then continued with a hybrid system.
- During the Stay at Home order, we promoted ways consumers could still do business with our business community.
- This included promoting new hours, curb side pick up, and delivery options.
- We provided information to the business community on the CARES Act funding and any other grants/loans available to them.
- A record number of scholarships awarded to RHS graduates ($22,000)
- We hosted our own Small Business Week since the National Small Business Week was cancelled. This event included FREE Headshots, Virtual Speed Networking, and a Virtual Community Business Tour of Public House Brewing Company.
- We welcomed new teachers to the area and provided them with goodie bags from the business community.
- We hosted 34 ribbon cuttings.
- And joined 57 New Members!
We would like to thank all of you for your continued support and we look forward to working with all of you during 2021. Together we can accomplish anything!! #rollastrong