Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Helps More Than 100 Small Businesses Amid Pandemic
The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting Tuesday, highlighting a year of success and hardship in the midst of the pandemic.
Small business owners nationwide are ready for the new year… And a one very different from 2020. Flora Brown, owner of Fairview Farmer’s Market, has been in the farming industry her entire life. She said as a farmer, you never know what kind of year it will be, but she said this year is one for the books: “…being farmers, just making sure everything was picked the right way and sanitized the right way… It was a challenge for us.”
Brown said when the pandemic hit, a lot had to change at the market… Including making room for social distancing and a full sanitation crew coming out to disinfect the property. That’s when the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Relief grant helped the market stay afloat.
“We brought the community together to raise money for our small business,” Anna Buckalew, President and CEO of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, said. “They’re hurting. They’ve had a really tough year. In Montgomery, we have so many very small minority-owned businesses that really needed assistance.”
The Chamber raised more than $500,000 to give to more than one hundred businesses in the area since the summer. Brown said seniors make up the majority of her clientele, so she had to expand her operation to include delivery service, all the while cutting back on the amount of produce on the shelves.
“I’m hoping with the vaccine out now, everyone can get that and everything can be kind of calmed down. All we can do is just hope and pray and put it in God’s hands,” Brown said.
We also talked with the owner of Bama Lanes Bowling Alley who was a grant recipient. He said it has been a hard year for business, and with the ‘Safer at Home’ order still in place, he doesn’t foresee much changing in the near future.
Other topics at the Chamber’s conference today included the raised ad valorem tax to benefit education and Maxwell-Gunter named the base of choice for a new flight training mission