Sonja Nagel, left, executive director of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, embraces past chamber president Julie Scurr in a recent photo. (File photo)

Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce steps up to help businesses during epidemic

Websites help connect to customers, as well as supports and resources

Need some ink cartridges for your printer during the COVID-19 crisis and don’t know where to get them while many businesses are shut down?

The Mid-Island Ink Depot needed to get the word out in the community that the business is still making deliveries in the Valley to home and work offices during the pandemic.

So the company has taken advantage of a new Facebook page that has been set up by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce called “Business ‘not’ as Usual”.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN BUSINESS COMMUNITY REACTING TO COVID-19 CHALLENGES

Mid-Island Ink Depot sent a post to the widely read and followed Facebook page telling customers the company is still delivering to offices at home and at work during the pandemic.

The Thurlow Real Estate Team simply announced on the Facebook page that the team is looking for a roofing company to replace a roof, and promptly received responses and suggestions from several sources.

Sonja Nagel, the chamber’s executive director, said the chamber created the Facebook page as a platform for businesses to promote their products and services during these unprecedented times.

She said all the members of the Valley’s four chambers of commerce, and all local businesses that are not affiliated with the chambers, are welcome to use the Facebook page to get messages to the community, and each other, during the health crisis.

RELATED STORY: MORE OLDER CANADIANS DIE AS COVID-19 TOLL PASSES 800

“It’s really taken off and getting good mileage,” Nagel said.

“Businesses are invited to post their services and products, including details on any adapted delivery methods, hours of operation and contact information.”

To help facilitate a sort of directory, the chamber has also developed a “poll” on the page to make it easier for people to quickly hone in on the services they are looking for.

Businesses can place their names in the primary category they fall under, which includes such categories as retail and produce, food and beverage, and marketing and media.

Nagel said another initiative to help local businesses during the pandemic is #cowichanstrong, which is a collaboration between the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Cowichan and Economic Development Cowichan.

RELATED STORY: CHAMBER NUMBERS UP AS A NEW BOARD TAKES OVER

She described #cowichanstrong, whose website can be found at www.cowichanstrong.ca, as a one-stop site for local business owners and entrepreneurs to access information related to COVID-19.

“The website connects businesses with supports and resources available to them during the pandemic,” Nagel said.

The website’s developers are also using it to ask businesses questions, learn more about their challenges and identify the help they need to either continue operations or restart their business when the health crisis finally ends.

“We’ve completed phase one of this website, and we’re moving on to phase two that will provide more information for businesses,” Nagel said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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