Carson Conversation: Re-focusing and re-thinking (Voices)

Since the forced shut-down of the business community in March of 2020, our once predictable world has been upended and it’s been difficult to get back to normal as defined by the Oxford Dictionary.

That which was once the “usual, standard, typical, or expected” is no more. The business community has had to reexamine how to proceed in this new reality where customers are not yet fully comfortable in crowded settings and the lack of employees has created a whole new set of challenges not easily solved.

That same conundrum has hit chambers of commerce as we now are forced to examine our role in this new reality where more and more employees are working from home and employers and managers are forced to stay closer to their place of business because of staff shortages that do not allow them to easily participate in chamber in-person functions.

Businesses that once sought to host after-hour mixers are now reluctant to do so, and it’s even hard to find a venue for networking luncheons because of labor shortages. It seems mixing and mingling is not as popular either since the fear of catching Covid is still very real.

The two-plus-years of hiatus of chamber in-person programs was replaced by Zoom meetings and/or far more frequent newsletters and bulletins announcing the latest Covid mandates to keep businesses apprised of OSHA standards, the Governor’s latest mandates, and more.

We were glued to our computers trying to figure out the next move and how best to correspond with our members. The momentum of our monthly events was lost, and it’s hard to regain that momentum in this new reality.

Currently, the Governor’s State of Emergency has been lifted, but as new variants continue to proliferate, the feeling of relief may be temporary. And, then there’s the pending doom of a recession.

The business community and chambers can’t seem to catch a break. It seems as though we are on a treadmill trying to catch up, but not really doing so. Often, we find ourselves scratching our heads trying to make sense of it all.

As the Carson City Chamber of Commerce looks to the future and how best to serve its variety of members, our board will be exploring the best method to address the challenges of our new reality and what will work best for our members to keep them in the loop and in the forefront of the minds of customers and members as they work together to keep their business and our economy strong.

Like business in general, we need to accept the “new normal” and can only do so by re-thinking and re-focusing.


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