Romer: Together we are stronger, we are better, we are one
Just last month, Vail Valley Partnership hosted the state demographer to discuss trends and predictions for Colorado and Eagle County. Fast forward to today, when private banks across the country are accepting loan applications for $349 billion of small business emergency loans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the intervening time (was that four weeks or four months ago?), Vail Valley Partnership has joined with hundreds of other state and local chambers to lobby Congress for speedy relief for our businesses and continues to provide tools and resources to help our businesses move forward. We do this because our business community needs a voice, and together we are stronger.
I have an increasing sense of optimism for the first time in a while. We as human beings — and our businesses — are incredibly resilient and all the bad news over the past few weeks has been tough to take. But we’re getting used to the “new normal” and we’re getting past the initial shock and figuring out what we need to do to help our businesses survive. Being an entrepreneur is believing in the future; we have figured out what we need to do to survive into the next phase and we know the world isn’t ending. Together we are better.
We are committed to economic vitality and we are committed to helping others to ensure business survives. When it is hard, you have to keep going. These things in life were not sent to break you, they were sent to make you. I know that sounds trite — but I believe in the future and believe that it is going to get better. We have to keep going, keep helping others, and keep working together. Together we are one.
In many ways, we are building the plane while we are flying in order to prepare our community for the return of visitors and to resume economic activity. While we hope the day comes sooner rather than later, we respect and defer to public health officials and their guidance. It is quite likely that guidance on reopening will vary from place to place and that it might be easier for some businesses to open more quickly than others based on social distancing recommendations. Together we are stronger.
Despite the tough road ahead, the community spirit that flows through the veins of our businesses and entrepreneurs is alive and well. Every day, I am hearing remarkable stories from small business owners who are helping our hospital, their neighbors, and their employees. Businesses who remain open are adapting and adjusting; those who are closed are working to support their employees and are preparing for the future. Together we are better.
I am buoyed by the fact that our businesses are adapting and not wallowing and feeling sorry for themselves, and I know my colleagues at Vail Valley Partnership are equally encouraged by thanks we receive when hosting webinars, answering questions, and doing everything possible to help Eagle County’s business community exit from the pandemic and get back on track. Together we are one.
COVID-19 has taught us that we live in an exponential world. This pandemic has taught business owners and operators that it’s not about having a five-year plan anymore. It’s about moving forward, reworking, adjusting, and tweaking. Together we are better.
History teaches us that no one is perfect, the world is messy, each of us is human and all have weaknesses and strengths, gifts and shortcomings. It also teaches that change occurs when regular people take courageous, principled actions. I know this: Together we are stronger, better, one.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.