Cranford Chamber responds to coronavirus struggles

CRANFORD, NJ — With the coronavirus ravaging the community and crippling businesses across the tristate area, the businesses in Cranford are going through a hard time. Fortunately, the Cranford Area Chamber of Commerce is thinking of the community, its residents and its small businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce serves members and the community by improving members’ success through networking, educational opportunities, marketing, and encouraging business and community development.

Chamber Executive Director Gina Tipton provided some insight as to how the Chamber of Commerce is responding to the COVID-19 crisis and how the outbreak is affecting local businesses.

“The Cranford Area Chamber of Commerce has changed the way we support our members by moving our events to a virtual environment, using webinar and video-conferencing systems to continue to support their needs,” Tipton told LocalSource on April 20. “In response to the coronavirus, we have added a series of informational webinars on various subjects, including how small businesses can apply for stimulus money, proper cleaning techniques, labor law, mental health and several more coming. We have created a local source page to help our members find the information that they need, and we are responding to the requests of the membership.”

With the coronavirus situation taking a toll on local businesses in Cranford, as well as the state, the Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to helping the town’s businesses get back onto their feet.

“The coronavirus is very hard on many of our member businesses,” Chamber President Andis Kalnins said on April 20. “As a local Chamber of Commerce, the majority of our members are small businesses, which tend to be the most impacted by the shutdowns and changes to rules around the coronavirus response. Many of the small businesses do not have the cash reserves required to withstand an extended shutdown or to keep their employees on during the event.

“We are trying to support these businesses through providing information on the programs and resources that are available, and through marketing of the businesses that are open or are open in new ways,” he continued. “We have also been supporting many of the activities that are happening to support the businesses and the front-line workers in our areas.”

According to its website, the Chamber of Commerce has also created a Facebook group dedicated to supporting small businesses and the community during this sensitive time. Business owners can share their updated hours, delivery options, specials and other important news.