Ruston-Lincoln Chamber: The importance of a chamber of commerce

Dear Ruston-Lincoln Parish community,

Our local businesses these days are under serious stress due to the COVID-19. In such uncertainty, it is easy to become anxious and adopt an “every man for himself” mentality. We have already seen this kind of response play out on the toilet paper aisle.

However, we must remember that our community is not where it is today because of every man only watching out for himself. The reality is that we are all in this together, and our individual and community survival depends on our ability to support each other. Long before COVID-19, businesses partly accomplished this through membership in the Chamber of Commerce, and, in times like these, the Chamber is especially important for the recovery of our business community.

The Chamber of Commerce is and has been providing reliable COVID-19 information and resources so that businesses can safely reopen. Even under social distancing measures, the Chamber’s webinars, website, and newsletters have helped businesses learn about the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), how to stay open while working from home, maintaining social distance at a workplace, and other vital information.

Earlier in the spring, the 2020 Peach Festival was in danger of cancellation. It was because of the Chamber’s advocacy on behalf of Ruston’s businesses that the Chamber Board opted to postpone this economically vital event rather than cancel it.

Moreover, the Chamber also gives local businesses a voice in government matters. The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber partnered with the state Chamber Association to submit the Safe@Work framework for the Governor’s consideration. They urged legislators to consider the CARES Act, sales tax deferrals, and payroll tax credits. They also advocated for business interruption insurance to include language on pandemic-related events. In all of these matters, the Chamber is dedicated to minimizing the burdens on our local businesses during shutdown and promoting a swift yet safe reopening process, especially for our small and local businesses.

The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber provides opportunities for businesses to promote themselves, which is especially crucial when business hours and restaurant menus have changed due to the shutdown. The Chamber helps make it known that businesses are still up and running, even if meetings are held virtually, what safety protocols are being followed, which restaurants have curbside pickup, only offering take-out or limited seating.

We as a business community need the Chamber of Commerce now more than ever. The resources, advocacy, and promotion that businesses receive when they support each other through the Chamber are necessary for our survival as individuals and as a community.

If you are a local business owner, please continue to prioritize membership in the Chamber. We rely on your support in order for us all to get through this together.

Sincerely,
Your 2020 Ruston-Lincoln Chamber Board of Directors