MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — Like many organizations and businesses, the Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce has made some temporary changes recently.
The office is closed, but they are open virtually — Executive Director Kathleen Mason is reachable by phone and email from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
“Our business is the business of everybody else’s business,” Mason said.
She’s been fielding a variety of questions and has even signed up four new chamber members.
Even if MICC can’t offer expertise in a certain area, likely one of its members can, Mason said.
“The chamber has by default a big network,” she said.
They’ve been highlighting local restaurants that are providing take-out and made sure to include retail businesses in the most recent issue of “Two Cities, One Community,” known as 2C 1C.
“The marketing aspect is what we’re doing,” Mason said. “(We’re) most concerned with what we can do right now. We’re trying to stay positive.”
Independence City Manager Tom Pessemier told Councilors at their April 28 meeting that he is impressed with how MICC has responded to the situation.
“(They’re) saying, look, we’re not worried about memberships, we’re worried about every business,” Pessemier said. “I think everybody has caught the spirit of cooperation and collaboration.”
An effort between different agencies, which Pessemier called the Monmouth Independence community business task force, recently met.
“(It can be) overwhelming for even the people who are professionals — the amount of information coming in and trying to figure that all out is really challenging,” he said. “The more we can collaborate together, the more we can help.”
The effort is a collaboration between MICC, the cities of Monmouth and Independence, the Independence Downtown Association, Monmouth Business Association, the the Strategic Economic Development Corporation and the city of Dallas.
Pessemier said the city is working on a survey to figure out how they can help local businesses.
“One thing we know they need is someone to help them sort through all the opportunities that are out there,” he said.
Councilor Shannon Corr asked if these efforts are focused on brick-and-mortar businesses or if home-based businesses will be included.
“It will be anyone,” Pessemier said. “We’re trying to accomplish as much as we can.”
He said they will be making phone calls to downtown and larger businesses and putting out a survey for all businesses.
“We’re fortunate to have a business registry that has a lot of that information,” he said. Monmouth also has a business registry and Pessemier said Independence is working with them to create the survey.
“We have a stake in every business in our area,” Mason said. “Whether you’re a member or not a member, right now we’re all one community and we want to help you.”