The City of Montrose weekly business updates (which took place via Zoom) began at the start of the pandemic to keep local business owners updated with COVID-19 guidelines and economic developments, but as the reopening process continues, the updates are now moving to an as-needed basis. The updates have had themes around restaurant guidelines, Q&A sessions with city and county officials, public health updates and other business-related information.
“These business update meetings were created because of the pandemic to provide short, reliable communication between local government and businesses… A foot forward toward resilience,” said City of Montrose Director of Business Innovation and Tourism Chelsea Rosty. “We plan on hosting meetings if there is an ask for a specific topic, if there is a major update from the State of Colorado, or if we are receiving a lot of inquiries around a specific topic.”
Rosty typically hosted the meetings along with Montrose DART Program Assistant Kate Adams. She said the process was beneficial for the city as well, as it could hear perspectives from people with varying experiences.
“These were actually a blast. It was so wonderful to talk with people and also host so many cool panelists like Dan Nordberg from the EDA (federal), local business owners, and government partners,” Rosty said. “We had a lot of laughs and a few bloopers that will go down in the work-from-home funniest moments book.”
The primary purpose of the meetings was to provide information for businesses as well as better understand their own experiences throughout the pandemic. Most of the meetings took questions and feedback from business owners and facilitated conversations.
“The city's only hope with these meetings was to exchange information. We wanted to hear from business owners about their needs, struggles, and successes,” Rosty said. “We also wanted to be able to provide updates on the most recent guidance from the State of Colorado and help our businesses digest it in an Q&A type format.”
In addition to providing information, Rosty hopes the update meetings allowed businesses to expand on their networking and have more opportunities to reach their consumers in creative ways.
“I do think that many businesses have been working together as a result of some of these efforts,” Rosty said. “Because of that, the community benefits from stronger, more resilient businesses and a strong partnership of local business owners.”
During the April 24 meeting, the final meeting before the move to the new format, data was collected anonymously from area business owners about how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their business and what their futures looked like. While many of the participating businesses reported they had been hit financially by the shutdown, they remained optimistic.
As pandemic restrictions loosen, Rosty said the community has rallied around its small businesses and helped many of them survive.
“The community should know that they picked a good one,” Rosty said. “Because of the efforts of the leadership in Montrose, our economy is in much better shape than many other places. We are well-diversified, COVID has proven that, our sales tax numbers continue to surprise us, lodging occupancy is coming up, and construction of homes and commercial buildings is still strong.”
More information, resources for businesses and updates on upcoming business meetings can be found at cityofmontrose.org/732/Businesses-Resources.