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Chamber Chat: Still in this together after a challenging year

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Back when the COVID pandemic took hold of our lives and businesses in March of 2020, I don’t think any of us foresaw how long we would be tested.

Without a doubt it’s been one of the most challenging times for businesses and organizations in recent memory. We are all looking forward to regaining footing and getting back to business as normal.

The GINCC has been part of our community for 10 years now and our membership allows us to continue to support and promote businesses on the West End of Marquette County. Currently we have 192 members in good standing and would like to grow that to 250 by the end of 2021.

The GINCC was integral in 2020 with providing up-to-date information to our business community of Federal CARES programs that have kept many small businesses solvent due to COVID prevention restrictions.

We were also able to provide safe community activities by coordinating outdoor events with COVID prevention protocols in place. In addition, we have assisted our membership with employment needs and community awareness.

Our mission: “Dedicated to building great businesses, great neighborhoods and great places to experience Western Marquette County.” During this time of uncertainty, we want to assure you that our mission is the same, but how we go about fulfilling it is evolving.

Currently there is a new round of Federal and State stimulus funding coming available. We will share this information as it becomes available to us such as programs like the Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan and numerous other grants.

Locally, we have relations with several media, economic and community organizations that are working to get us through this. We connected our membership with resources and promote the importance of supporting out local businesses through these times. Last year we’ve promoted Crazy Days Side Sidewalk Sales, Lake Bancroft Craft Fair, Ladies Night Out and Small Business Saturday, along with numerous buy local incentives. As opportunities arise, we plan to do our best to offer events again this year.

To learn more about the GINCC, visit our website at www.gincc.org, give us a call or stop in. Office hours are 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. We are at times out of office on Chamber business. Please call ahead to confirm a visit, 906-486-1111.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bob Hendrickson is the executive director of the GINCC. He currently resides in Negaunee with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Sierra. He enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and hunting along with family time.

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