CORONAVIRUS: Emporia Main Street continues to offer variety of assistance to local businesses as pandemic continues Featured

CORONAVIRUS: Emporia Main Street continues to offer variety of assistance to local businesses as pandemic continues KVOE News File Photo

As the coronavirus continues to impact the Kansas economy, Emporia Main Street continues its efforts to provide local businesses with as much assistance as possible to continue weathering the storm.

Main Street Director Casey Woods and Community Relations Director Jessica Buccholz recently joined KVOE's Talk of Emporia to discuss these opportunities for assistance in more depth. Since the pandemic began, Main Street has had more flexibility with the use of state programs which has allowed the organization to utilize funding to assist with upgrades to enhance local businesses remote outreach.

The upgrades include enhancements to a business's support systems, point of sale systems and other systems that allow them to engage with customers from a sales perspective. Buccholz says these updates are vital to keeping the community informed on new procedures and operation strategies as the pandemic continues.

She adds, keeping the public updated empowers them to continue supporting local businesses because they feel safe and engaged.

 

Woods says Main Street has been emphasizing the importance of remote community outreach for over a decade. He says the COVID-19 pandemic, while not desired, has helped emphasize the importance for businesses to have a strong virtual presence.

 

Additionally, Woods says Main Street is offering individual consultations with local business owners to assist with any questions, concerns or complications they may be having with the ongoing pandemic. Woods says in most cases small businesses are typically "lumped together" into the small business category.

Woods adds, strategists then typically look to develop a "one-size fits all" approach to solving the adversities facing "small businesses" but not to address each business's individual needs and threats. He says this is where Main Street's efforts differ as their consultations focus not on the business size, but what they offer.

By getting down to the basic nature of what the business is they can then develop the best plans and strategies to help them overcome any struggles they may be facing in the coming months.

Assistance has also been made available thanks to several partnerships in the local community such as the Greater Emporia Area Disaster Relief Fund which Woods says has already generated over $200,000 in donations since its inception. The city of Emporia has also benefited greatly from state aid including appropriations from the state's Strengthening People And Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) task force and a recent Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) totaling $167,000 to aid with economic development and local meal programs.

An exact plan for how those funds will be dispersed is still in development.

If you would like to take advantage of Main Street's assistance visit Emporiamainstreet.com or call 620-340-6430.

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