| The Pueblo Chieftain
A group of leaders in the Pueblo has come together to help small businesses in a variety of ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Pueblo Business Economic Recovery Team has created the BERT Marketing Team, which put together an “open for business toolkit” after the state put Pueblo County on Level Red, or “severe risk” status, on the state’s COVID-19 dial system.
Level Red is the second-most restrictive of the dial’s six levels.
“When there was notice that our community was going to be moved on the dial to red, many businesses again had to shift and pivot,” said Steven Trujillo of the Latino Chamber of Commerce. “Many had to go back to how they were maybe operating in March or April.”
Trujillo, whose organization was a key player in establishing the programs to help small businesses, said the toolkit helps businesses inform the public about how their operations are currently running.
The idea of a toolkit was formed after a conversation about those challenges in communication, Trujillo said. Through the toolkit, graphics were developed for various sectors and made available on a shared drive.
“The point was to help many of our small businesses that don’t have a dedicated marketing person or don’t have a department for these types of things,” Trujillo said. “We wanted to allow them to be able to just plug and play and we wanted them to be able to use and tell their constituents, followers and customers how they are open.”
The economic recovery team is a collaboration between local government, chambers of commerce and economic development-focused agencies that have all come together to develop resources, support messaging and positively impact local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Various members of the group’s sub-committees are connecting businesses that need different types of assistance with individuals and organizations that can help. Types of assistance include financial, marketing and management consulting.
“We didn’t want there to be this assumption that just because our county is on the red dial doesn’t mean every business is just closed,” Trujillo said. “We still wanted to be able to inform and educate the public on how they can support small businesses.”
The team also created a 2020 Business Resource Guide to assist local businesses during the pandemic. The guide outlines financial resource options that are available for businesses on a national, state and local level as well as reopening guidelines, mental health resources, community banks and more.
The guide is an ever-growing document that is updated as new information and resources become available.
Two videos designed by the group seek to inform the public that businesses are still open. Twelve businesses are showcased throughout the video campaign.
“It gives the businesses a voice on how they are handling this pandemic. The two videos are very positive,” Trujillo said, adding that more are planned.
Trujillo said the Latino Chamber is continuing to do all it can to help businesses as well.
The chamber has a few programs that were launched early on in the pandemic.
“We offer any business a 90-day trial in joining the chamber where businesses can take full advantage of member benefits and they also can be a part of our communication strings,” Trujillo said.
“We are also trying to make sure that we are using all of our communication channels to get this information out to members.”
The chamber has launched a podcast and has continued its new virtual strategy to do more meetings and luncheons with members online.
“We are always open to what businesses are in need of,” Trujillo said. “Using these platforms to receive information is one thing, but I would say that people also can share their feedback and let us know if there is something they need that we are not highlighting.”
“If there’s something you want to know more about, then please let us know. ‘Many hands make light work,’ ” Trujillo added. “I read that quote many years ago and it has always stuck with me. Feedback is always welcome.”
The toolkit is available to small business owners at https://www.supportingpueblo.com/bert.
A video about how this program works is available at https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1483904208486265&ref=watch_permalink.
For more information about Latino Chamber events call 719-542-5513 or visit https://pueblolatinochamber.com.