As we enter another week dealing with the coronavirus situation, a lot is going on, though it may seem not much is happening. At the Greater Freeport Partnership, we are learning how to operate using social distancing practices and learning more about video conferencing software than we ever thought we would need to. One thing we do know, however, is that every business in Stephenson County is different and the impact of this situation is different for each of them. Their resources for dealing with that impact are different. And their needs are all different.

Late last week, we surveyed members as to what their issues and concerns were regarding the current situation. We received a lot of responses and a number of varied answers. We are still reviewing them and will follow up directly and in small groups with some of them. Here are some interesting insights we have learned to date:

  • Many of you are concerned about the impact of this situation on your employees and your ability to support your employees. There is information on our website on some of the state and federal supports to businesses regarding workforce expenses. We are also gathering more information and will get it out to you as soon as we are able.
  • There are still businesses who are hiring, and they are in desperate need of employees. We are reaching out to companies who we have heard are looking for employees. In the meantime, you can encourage those you know who are looking for work to connect with the employment agencies listed in the jobs section of our website. There are companies hiring!
  • Businesses are looking for information about assistance programs and for assistance in understanding those programs and how to access them. There is a lot happening in the local, state and federal realms with programs, loans and grants designed to ease a bit of the pain related to the pandemic. As resources, explanations and webinars are available, we try to make them available to you.
  • Almost 3 out of 4 businesses indicated that they are not set up for online sales. Others have indicated they are looking for ideas to attract customers and generate sales. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Greater Freeport Partnership. We can help you with some ideas or connect you with other resources that will provide you with some tools and strategies.

This is a trying time, regardless of whether you are an essential business, a retail establishment, a professional services firm or any other type of business. Please continue to let us know what information and/or assistance you are looking for and we will continue to help.

Stay safe!

Bill Clow is the Business Engagement Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. He can be reached at bclow@greaterfreeport.com or 815-233-1353.