Street Talk: Viroqua Chamber Main Street staff ready to help businesses during COVID-19 pandemic
Street Talk

Street Talk: Viroqua Chamber Main Street staff ready to help businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

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I know that we are in a very uncertain and stressful time as a business community. I am thinking about all of you, worrying and problem-solving, and seeking as many solutions or measures to help to stop the losses and get us back to where we were just a few weeks ago. We are reaching out to 10 businesses a day to check in, spread information about relief efforts, and offer support. My staff and I are available. Please reach out anytime via email. As Facebook messages are getting challenging to keep up with, please reach out via email if you can. If you message me, know that I am getting hit up on social media pretty majorly and will do what I can to get information to you that is quick and accurate. Emails for contact: nrschmidt@viroqua-wisconsin.com, cwalters@viroqua-wisconsin.com, farmers market inquiries: promotions@viroqua-wisconsin.com

I want to take a moment to thank all of the staff at VMH and Gundersen Health System, Bethel Home, Vernon Manor, Creamery Creek, VMH Hospice, for their bravery, selflessness and long hours; working to keep all of us safe. I want to thank the staff at Walmart, the Viroqua Food Co-op, Kwik Trip, Quillin’s, Main Street Mobil, Viola Kwik Stop, Cakery & Bake Shoppe and all of the other staff working to keep shelves stocked so that we all have the supplies that we need. I want to thank city of Viroqua staff, the mayor, police, fire and everyone in the office and council members at the city of Viroqua for working long extra hours, for staying up-to-date with constantly changing information. Thank you to retail establishments and restaurants/cafes/eateries for creative approaches, online options for purchase, and to all of our businesses who provide services like yoga, nutrition, wellness, for offering sessions online. Thank you to the schools and the teachers who are working long hours converting curriculum to online and to the parents doing what they can to make all of this work. I see you. I am you, with two little ones myself. Doing the best I can to offer my 7- and 8-year-old education and maintain my work and meeting schedule. To my staff, who are working long hours to support the business community. To the postal workers, food pantry workers, farmers, delivery drivers and the newspaper staff. To all of you who are working just a little harder and carrying a burden just a little larger... we all see you, we all appreciate you. Thank you for taking groceries to neighbors, thank you for supporting local businesses, thank you for reaching out to your friends, thank you. Thank you. This community is stronger together.

I also want to take a moment and recognize Tina and Lance Tryggestad and The Cheese Corner for 34 years of partnership with the Viroqua Chamber Main Street. We are sad to see them go, and I for one will miss the best Scotcheroos in the entire universe, and my favorite veggie sub. Businesses like The Cheese Corner are places for gathering and socializing and cornerstones in the Viroqua community. They will be missed terribly, and on behalf of myself and the Board of Directors of the Viroqua Chamber Main Street, we wish Tina and Lance a happy retirement. We cannot thank you enough for your years of community support and for some of the best quotes. The last one was particularly inspiring: “Cherish your human connections — your relationship with friends and family.” Barbara Bush.

The Viroqua Chamber Main Street is working with United Way on an immediate relief effort for businesses in the form of grants for small businesses to cover expenses during a period of losses. I should have more information very soon. It will be a text to contribute campaign. More information will be available on Facebook. Local banks are putting together relief funds and each have excellent rates on loans and other resources for businesses. I encourage you to reach out to our partner banks/credit unions: Westby Co-op Credit Union, Royal Bank, Peoples State Bank, Citizens First Bank, Associated Bank and Bank of Cashton.

My staff has put together a site to purchase gift cards from local businesses. It is doing quite well, and will do even better if people continue to share it. This site is open and available to all businesses, members will receive priority but all are welcome to participate. Please share this page on FB and consider purchasing a gift card to support local businesses. The link to the site is www.supportsmall.net.

We are working on other relief options for businesses and nonprofits and are continuing to work closely with the city of Viroqua, Vernon County, WWIBIC, WEDC and the SBA for up-to-date information for relief.

We are also encouraging zero interest KIVA loans: www.kiva.org There is an episode of the 54665 podcast that talks about how these loans work. Give it a listen: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/54665-podcast/e/65256251?autoplay=true

We are offering our first series of virtual learning this week. Please check out our Facebook page for more information. These sessions are free of charge and available to all.

I am here to help, my staff is here. It is our mission and pleasure to serve you. Be well... you and your families are all in my thoughts.

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