First let me say welcome to 2021. I think most of us are anticipating good things from this year especially after the difficult year we had in 2020. I find myself writing this letter on the first day of February and thinking back to this same day last year and realizing there was no way any of us could have prepared for this pandemic. I think most of us thought it would only last a few weeks and we can surely survive that and then weeks turned into months and we are soon looking at a full year. A year of ups and downs and open then closed again. These have been the most difficult of days for our small businesses and the chamber has experienced many of the same emotions. While all of us have experienced these unprecedented times not everyone has responded in the same way. To take from the Army, I have watched as many of us have had to adapt, improvise and overcome some pretty big hurtles. Some of you have had to close one business and keep another open while others of you have had to step out into the unknown of “social media” and try and figure that out while still others of you had to learn how to do curbside pick-up. So many fears have had to be overcome. Some of you it forced to be brave and change your business plan moving forward with new products and expansions. What is the old saying? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I am sure some of you feel stronger while others of you are just praying for “normal” again.
Where do we go from here? The only thing we know is that everything is still unknown. We continue to take one day at a time sometimes one hour at a time and we keep on doing our best. Trying to recreate and figure out our new norm, whatever that may look like. The great thing is we live in an amazing community and we have watched as they have supported us through many of our chamber events such as the biggest golf tournament we have had in years along with our two week Taste of Richmond (passport) event and our three week long Shop Small initiative leading us right up to the Christmas holiday season.
I want to say thank you to all of you who have seen the importance of the chamber and even if it may have been a struggle you paid your membership so that we could keep this organization afloat. Because of you, our members we are going to make it and we are going to come out stronger than we were before. So, here’s to a great 2021. I am sure it will continue to hold many unknowns but thank goodness we have a great chamber organization made of some of the best members, inside an extraordinary community and we are all in this together. We’ll be here in the future! Mendi Goble President/CEO