We looked back on the Chamber column written April 5, 2020.

Summarizing, we said that with the pandemic businesses are in the same storm but not in the same boat. Consumers supporting businesses is extremely important because they are in difficult cash positions needing to meet their expenses obligations. Businesses are being creative to weather the storm while serving their customers’ needs and wants. Every business is “essential”.

All of that is still true in April 2021, but it’s a different world for sure.

Experts these days are talking about the race between vaccines and variants. Many folks are leaping at returning to normal, while others refuse to let their guard down against the persistent virus. Good reasoning exists on both sides.

The St. Peter Chamber, with its 15-member Board of Directors and several committees, for all months of the pandemic has balanced stop-the-spread efforts with fuel-the-local-economy interests and encouragements. We are extremely thankful to peeps like these: 1. Anyone vowing and indeed following through with ordering takeout and delivery at least once per week, because the local restaurants benefit from a strong support network; 2. All who have been able to pay on time their bills for insurance, retirement investments, utilities, taxes, mortgages, car payments, dental, medical and other services, because the power of dollars flowing has kept us financially afloat; 3. Those who have committed to spending on home improvements, vehicle upgrades, maintenance they had been putting off, and items like fun new clothes, electronics, recreation equipment, furniture and appliances, along with not skimping on the necessities, because getting that money into the economy instead of squirreled away really does good.

Thanks to everyone dedicating dollars to payrolls, promotions, and memberships like gyms.

Gratitude goes to those who have continued to financially support charities and non-profits that quietly enhance a community’s quality of life.

The pandemic has been hard on many. Let’s keep supporting those who have lost their jobs, seen their work hours, and therefore revenues, reduced. For businesses, the notion of “same storm, different boats” definitely still applies. Please keep looking around and trying to spend money with the businesses whose revenue streams have been pinched.

We look forward to the return of Chamber events whenever that can safely happen. Chamber leaders are being careful with any decisions that could put people at less than necessary risk. The Winterfest Medallion Hunt, in February, is an example of a Chamber event that was relatively safe, so the show went on. A high-profile endeavor on the near horizon is MarketFest, which we continue to support and can be done relatively safely in St. Peter beginning on Saturdays in May.

Please stay well, and thanks for spending dollars in ways that improve your life and the lives of local businesspeople, who, let’s happily acknowledge, make life better for all of us.

Ed Lee is the director of the St. Peter Area Chamber of Commerce.

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