Small businesses in the Robins Region can count on their chamber.
In the face of challenges and adversity, it’s important to have someone on your side.
For the small business community in Robins Region, which has struggled to continue operating while following executive orders to reduce in-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, that “someoneâ€ is the Robins Regional Chamber – and many local business owners say that support is invaluable.
“Our small businesses want to comply with the new regulations and restrictions, but the rules are constantly changing as more information comes to light,â€ says April Bragg, president and CEO of the Robins Regional Chamber.
“That’s where we, the chamber, have been able to offer the most value and support. We’ve done our best to provide clear, concise, timely information throughout this tumultuous time and give businesses the resources they need to move forward safely.”
Those resources Bragg mentions are on the Robins Strong page of the Robins Regional Chamber website, along with remote working solutions, local health updates, mental health wellness tips and more. Robins Strong includes information about free continuing education programs, too, plus print-ready signs for businesses to post related to social distancing, occupancy and hand hygiene.
“We want to ensure business can focus on what they do best, so we have compiled everything they might need, like signage with the appropriate language,â€ Bragg says. “We see our role as identifying gaps in our business community, filling those gaps and providing resources to help businesses keep their doors open.”
In addition to serving as an information portal, the Robins Regional Chamber has helped area businesses advertise their services at no cost.
For example, in March 2020, the chamber created a public Facebook group called Robins To-Go where restaurants could share their operating hours and promote to-go menu items – and most importantly, communicate that they are still open for business despite their dining rooms being closed.
“In a matter of weeks, we had more than 10,000 members in our Robins To-Go Facebook group, all of whom live, work and play right here in our region,â€ Bragg says. “The group has continued to grow, and now that restaurants are returning to their typical operations, it’s a great place for community members to see daily specials, learn about new dining spots and connect with others.”
Sharing Thanks for Support
One Warner Robins restaurant that successfully navigated new mandates is Tap & Pour, which offered curbside pickup and delivery in the early stages of the pandemic and has reopened to the public since.
Neal Patel, owner of Tap & Pour, says the chamber did an excellent job of helping businesses like his as they offered ample resources for making it through a trying time.
“April Bragg and the Robins Regional Chamber were great when COVID-19 hit,â€ Patel says. “They set up key speakers through webinars that helped with the U.S. Small Business Administration loan process. They provided updates from the governor’s office in regard to restaurant guidelines. Robins To-Go was set up and mediated by April, which was an integral part of getting our restaurant updates to the public via Facebook.”
Float Robins, a float therapy spa, has also relied on the chamber, with owner Telisa Asaro praising Robins Strong as a vital resource.
“Thanks to April and the chamber’s hard work with Robins Strong, we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel when it came to creating signs and communicating with the public,â€ Asaro says. “They were an incredible and consistent point of contact and provided a place we knew we could go for correct information. They continue to go above and beyond for us.”
Tess and Matt Chambers, owners of Against the Grain Designs, say they’re thankful for the Robins Regional Chamber, too, pointing to the assistance and reliability the organization provided during one of their business’s most challenging seasons to date.
“Having April and her team on our side and ready to answer our questions has been more helpful than I can say,â€ Tess says. “They’ve worked around the clock for us, and we really appreciate them.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Robins Region area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Robins Region.