BUTTE - Business leaders in Butte have started a bi-weekly forum to help small businesses deal with added restrictions due to the coronavirus while making it through the all-important holiday season.
“This is a tough time. Businesses are scared too; they need to pay their rent, they need to keep their doors open,” said the forum's COVID specialist, Melissa Wanamaker.
Butte has put together "COVID Chat" for business owners and the community to ask questions and learn about business loans and advice to help them this time of year.
“This is the biggest time of the year for a lot of these retailers. This is when they make their bread and butter around the holiday season,” said Julie Jaksha with the Small Business Development Center.
Jon Wick, owner of 5518 in Butte added, “It is concerning to keep our business open, but it’s also concerning for us to keep people happy. We’ve got neighbors and we live in this community and we want to take care of each other.”
The Butte Health Department recently reduced the number of customers in stores as positive COVID-19 cases spike in Butte.
“It’s not going anywhere unfortunately, you know, we’re looking at probably the next six to 12 months of COVID and we want to be a good resource and we want to be a good community member,” said Jaksha.
The pandemic has forced many small business in Butte to be more innovative, to switch to selling their products online and offering delivery just like the big stores do.
“Being a small business, people don’t immediately think that we have an e-commerce, and we do, and we’re just as efficient as the big box stores: Amazon, Walmart, Target, all those other places people go shop, we can compete right next to them,” said Wick.
The first meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to noon and people can register at bit.ly/bsbcovid1.