Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber provides business ideas to stave off losses due to coronavirus shutdown

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Dozens of Hemet San Jacinto Valley businesses like other businesses in southwest Riverside County have been hit hard with the county order allowing only essential businesses to stay open.

With that order, the Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce issued a number of helpful hints to businesses online on ways to work through the crisis and hopefully not have to close their doors permanently.

There was a glimmer of hope for all the businesses and their employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. That hope came with the signing of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Economic Relief Bill Friday afternoon, March 27, that includes $350 billion in grants and loans, with loan forgiveness for small American businesses.

Until then, and until the “Stay at Home” and allowing only “essential businesses” to remain open to halt the spread of the coronavirus orders are lifted by county, state and federal health officials, local merchants still won’t be able to open their doors completely and bring back their laid off employees before their doors close permanently.

Richard Perry, chairman of the Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce, and owner of VIP Autos in Hemet, gave some insight on the dilemma small business and restaurant owners are facing in this crisis. He said he and the other community businesses “have never seen anything like this” referring to the pandemic fallout.

“As a small-business owner, I have seen the impact on my floor traffic that I depend on,” Perry said and that he knows other businesses “that have made painful adjustments by not paying themselves and putting their employees first, or even cutting them down too.”

But, he said, “We will get through this,” citing many other economic crises the nation and state have suffered in the past where business owners have survived. He said local coffee shops, bars, restaurants and some other retailers may find it harder to bounce back, but there will be a pent-up demand for those goods and services that may bring a full recovery in a short time,

In the meantime, he and the chamber advised the business owners to get to know their vendors a little more and even ask them for help. He said business owners should engage “with their cellphones” to keep in touch with each other to trade ideas and other things that might improve or prolong their business during the crisis more than ever.

He suggested taking the time to review their websites if they have one and update or improve them until the business can reopen.

“You might find mistakes in them,” Perry said.

Contact previous owners and customers to learn what helped them or what they are looking for and wish them well. He said not to forget to use the chamber and all their resources to help their businesses grow.

“Just do not fade in the background and stop your messaging,” was his advice.

He said although the president signed the CARE bill, merchants and businessmen won’t know when that help will come.

Many of the chamber golf tournaments, ribbon cuttings, reverse drawing and other chamber events have had to be canceled or rescheduled due to the coronavirus.

“It’s been the toughest,” Perry said of the chamber, and for his own business, “Still, we are not giving up.”

The Hemet San Jacinto Valley Chamber webpage, https://www.hemetsanjacintochamber.com, available with the latest business information for members and the general public.

Cindy Lemke the Chamber CEO recorded a number of videos designed to try to help small businesses in the Valley survive through the crisis and a list of what are considered “essential services.”

Tony Ault may be emailed at tault@reedermedia.com.