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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Chamber!

It has been a trying and challenging year for everyone, one that we never would have imagined at this time last year.

The determination, patience, and resourcefulness of the local business community in 2020 is to be applauded. You rallied and persevered, exercising the entrepreneurial muscle needed to survive in a harsh and ever-changing environment.

No one knows what’s in store for 2021, but I’m confident that we will continue to learn, grow, and connect. And maybe we all will have gained something from our challenges – better perspective, an appreciation for the small things, more humility or just the comfort of feeling like you were part of a community who could lean on each other.

May you and your family have a joyful and safe holiday season. If you have lost someone this year, as many have, please know that our thoughts are with you and we hope you find peace in knowing that family, friends and fellow members share in your loss.

Happy Holidays,

Tricia Maple-Damewood
Chamber President

Announcing “Ohio Valley Shop Where I Live”: Online Shopping Platform for Members

75% of people shop online at least once a month. Amazon currently accounts for over 47% of all e-commerce sales. E-commerce is growing 23% per year, yet 46% of American small businesses still don’t have a website. These numbers are important to think about if you are a small business owner. It’s crucial that you have an online presence if you are to survive and thrive. And the Chamber just made it easier than ever to do just that.

Next week, the Chamber will launch its “Shop Where I Live Ohio Valley” website featuring an online shopping platform for members to utilize free of charge. Shoppers will be able to browse and purchase products and gift cards from our local businesses, pay online and have their purchases shipped or schedule them for in-store or curbside pick up. You may even make purchases from multiple businesses and check out in one transaction. In addition, non-retailers may participate by offering coupons, downloadable purchases and receiving online inquiries about their services.

“This has been a long time coming,” commented Chamber president, Tricia Maple-Damewood. “This platform will allow any local business, from a home-based retailer to a restaurant, franchise or service business to promote themselves AND bring in sales, 24/7 and with no cost to them. This not only allows them to compete with big box stores and other online retailers but also provides a means to bring in crucial dollars during a time when in-store shopping is limited due to Covid.” The site will not just be for the holidays but remain a permanent, highly-promoted advertising and sales tools for Chamber member businesses year-round, accessible through the Chamber’s website. Non-members may participate as well by paying a monthly selling fee.

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Chamber Launches Large List of Holiday Programming

Help us kick off a “Buy Local” shopping season on Small Business Saturday, November 28th.

We know you’re busy. And we know that this will be a holiday season like none of us have ever seen – very unpredictable and more stressful than ever before. If you are a business that can take advantage of the programs below, please do. They are all easy and free of charge as a Chamber member.

And if they don’t apply to your business or industry, do your part by spreading the “Shift Your Shopping” message between now and Christmas Day. Look to our local members first for holiday purchases and we all will come out the other side of 2020 much stronger. From gifts, gas, and take-out or a new car to home improvements, haircuts, or Christmas portraits – it all adds up. Look local first.

Send or drop off coupons, fliers, menus or small giveaway items to the Chamber for the Small Business Saturday station which will be set up at M & M Hardware in Steubenville on November 28th from 8 a.m. to noon. We will be (safely) handing out your information along with fresh, hot coffee and encouraging shoppers to buy locally this holiday season. We’ll also be promoting the “Buy Local” receipt contest that is explained below. Deadline to drop off your items is Wednesday, November 25th at 4 p.m. The chamber address is 630 Market Street, Steubenville, OH 43952. Quantity: 25 to 50.

Post a “Shop Small” or “Eat, Drink & Be Local” sign on your storefront or door. Click below to download and print. And watch your email for information on the Chamber’s new “Promo Page” where you can download printable signs, stickers and more. Include a “Proud Chamber Member” sticker on your holiday mailing or print “Buy Local” stickers for your employees or to hand out to kids.

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Applications Still Open: Don’t Miss This Opportunity

Applications are steadily coming in for the county’s Covid-19 Emergency Relief Grant Program that was launched this past Monday. The process, so far, has been seen as simple and efficient. One Chamber member business, a sole proprietor, commented, “It was easier than I thought it would be. I used my checking account statements to show my expenses and just downloaded them from my online banking site to attach them to the application.” The Chamber has received many phone calls and emails with basic questions and also requests to have hard copy grant application packets sent via mail as well. Grant information and applications may be picked up at the Chamber offices and the Jefferson County Auditor’s office, located on the 4th floor of the courthouse. Chamber members may scan or copy documents, free of charge, at the Chamber during their regular business hours.

Businesses with no more than 25 employees and an annual 2019 revenue that does not exceed $2 million, are encouraged to apply. And non-profits with a 501(C)(3), (4), (8) or (10) status, may also be eligible.

The basic for-profit guidelines are listed below. Click on “Grant Guidelines” to read the complete eligibility requirements and to read non-profit eligibility criteria.

-The business must operate for profit. (Businesses that are for-profit generally file an IRS Form 1040 with a schedule C, 1040-SR with a Schedule C, 1065, 1120, or 1120-S).

-2019 Revenue not to exceed $2,000,000

-The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation (both S and C), professional association, limited liability company, or limited partnership. If a corporation, professional association, limited liability company, or limited partnership the business must be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in the State of Ohio. If a sole proprietorship, the business shall provide documentation of its existence as a business, including, but not limited to income tax returns for the business, trade name registrations, business banking or credit accounts, or similar documents. If a partnership, the business shall either be registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in the State of Ohio, or, if not registered, shall provide documentation similar to that required for a sole proprietorship.

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DeWine Announces Small Business Relief Grant & Assistance To Liquor Permit Holders

Last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the approval of $125 million in funding received by the State of Ohio from the federal CARES Act to provide grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses to help them through the current COVID crisis. The program will begin accepting applications beginning this Monday, November 2, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. Please click here for an overview page and fact sheet and click here for a more detailed outline of the grant – scroll down to click on “Terms & Conditions” to view more.

The Chamber is partnering with the Brooke Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and the Jefferson County Port Authority to not only spread the word about this new program but also to ensure that our local businesses are prepared for the application process and have the help they need to submit their application accurately and on time. You may access the online application at www.businesshelp.ohio.gov. Please note that in order to access the application, you are required to have an “OH/ID” which provides users with secure access to State of Ohio services. If you do not have one and wish to obtain one, click here. If you already have an Ohio Sales Tax Payment login ID, you may use it. Money will be allocated to all 88 counties but is distributed on a first-come, first-served, basis.

Check out WTOV9’s segment and interview regarding the Chamber’s partnership by clicking here.

In addition, the “Bar and Restaurant Assistance Fund” has also been set up to assist Ohio’s on-premise liquor permit holders with $37.5 million of funding to provide $2,500 grants to all on-premise liquor permit holders. Click here for details on this program. You may qualify for both programs. Accepting the $10,000 grant does not exclude you from the additional $2,500. These applications also open on Monday, November 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

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Member Appreciation “Mask-erade” Barbecue: A Safe & Enjoyable Evening!

It was different than in years past, but the 112th “Annual Dinner” took place Wednesday evening as a safely-distanced, casual gathering at St. Florian Hall. There was no speaker or program, and no awards were handed out, rather ALL local businesses and organizations on hand were the “honorees” of the evening. The weather was perfect for the indoor-outdoor event that included bonfires, s’mores, DJ Ralph, the Ambassador cornhole competition, local beer and wine vendors and a great spread of barbecued chicken and pork with all the fixins’. A highlight of the evening was this year’s feature video presentation by Pierce Media that showcased the six 2020 Gold Level sponsors. Click the button above to take a look.

“The Chamber would like to thank all of the volunteers, sponsors, participants and guests who went above and beyond to help make this important fundraiser doable,” Chamber president, Tricia Maple commented. “Our members were so happy to gather safely and feel some sort of normalcy and we were excited to help make that happen.”

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Deadline Approaching to Order! Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Gyro Sale

The Greek Fest may have not happened this year but there’s still time to get your fix of Holy Trinity’s delicious menu. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 3rd, 10am – 1pm and see the ordering details below. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is located at 300 South 4th Street in downtown Steubenville.

Gyro Sale
$7.00 each
Phone orders: 740.282.9835 – Fax orders: 740.282.2091 – Online orders: www.holytrinitygreekfest.com

Free delivery on orders of four or more gyros. Please allow 20 minutes when placing orders.

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Saluting Our Local Manufacturers on National Manufacturing Day

October is National Manufacturing Month and it kicks off today, which is National Manufacturing Day. The Chamber and Jefferson County have a great deal to celebrate in this business segment, many of which are considered “hidden gems” of commerce that local residents are not even aware of. Here’s a list of Chamber member manufacturers who produce and ship products, in many cases not just locally, but also for the global market. We’re grateful for their ongoing contributions and legacy.

Click on any name to learn more at their website:

Wal-Mart Distribution Center #7017

BONUS: Check out this 2017 video from the Annual Dinner Meeting,
celebrating manufacturing in our area!

Annual Dinner Gets Turned Upside Down

It’s been a year like no other…which calls for an event like we’ve never had before. Rather than host the Chamber’s Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner this October as has been the case for over 100 years, the decision has been made to make some major changes to this year’s event. The special events committee put their heads together to come up with a better option, a safer one, but one that still allows us to gather, celebrate, and honor chamber members and their employees.

On Wednesday, October 21st, National Chamber of Commerce Day, the Chamber will host its first-ever Member Appreciation “Mask-erade” Barbecue at St. Florian Event Center in Wintersville from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Our typical nominations, awards, and speakers will be replaced with a night of music, food, and drink both inside and out. Please join us as we honor all of our members and come together to celebrate the resilience, passion, hard-work, and dedication of our business community. Watch your mail and email for more details and your official invitation. Buy tickets now by clicking below. Sponsorships are also available starting at just $500. Contact the Chamber offices for details.

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Happy Labor Day from the Chamber Staff

The last few months have tested the resolve of our nation’s workers and entrepreneurs like never before, and that test has yet to end. Since the pandemic struck, our country has been reminded that our workforce is comprised of essential workers in arenas often taken for granted or misunderstood by our economy and culture.

The Chamber has never been more proud to represent its members and the local business community. Your tenacity, patience, and creativity are to be applauded. Our larger employers continue to set a great example, generously supporting local programs and projects, when possible, that boost morale and show their employees and those on the front lines that they are appreciated. Our small businesses keep navigating through ever-changing scenarios with patience and flexibility, working hard to be safe and keep customers safe even when the rules sometimes don’t seem to make sense and their years of experience sometimes don’t seem to matter.

If you are fortunate enough to have Monday off, I hope you have a chance to relax and catch your breath, returning to the final stretch of this challenging year at least somewhat renewed and refocused. If you are open for business, I hope you (safely) see many friendly faces from the local community come through your doors to support and thank you. Regardless of your industry, we consider each one of you important to the success and spirit of the Ohio Valley.

Sincerely,

Tricia Maple-Damewood
President

The Chamber will be closed on Monday, September 7th, in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
Offices will reopen on Tuesday, September 8th, at 9 a.m.