Support the Businesses that Support the Economy
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
July 8, 2022
Member services are a point of pride for us, and we work hard to increase value for the hundreds of local businesses and nonprofits who count on us to help them succeed. The sheer size of our economy and the record-setting growth in city tax revenues are just two testaments to the dynamism of the local business environment.
Another is membership, and I am pleased to tell you that in the fiscal year just ended, we added 85 businesses to our Chamber family – an increase of more than 10%. Those new members are neighbors who have invested their dreams for their future and the future of their families in their Sedona small business. We are proud they have chosen to join us and deeply respect our commitment to their success.
But there is a growing concern in Sedona, one you can act to alleviate. Business conditions change quickly, and even a temporary or minor downturn in volume can create anxious times. Many of our retail partners are telling us of a noticeable decline in customer traffic and sales since Memorial Day. Restaurants that just a few months ago required reservations are now wondering if they must reduce staff – when finding the staffers in the first place was difficult.
Some say the choices they face are starker than during the worst of COVID. “We didn’t have expenses other than our lease,” says one restauranter, recalling the COVID shutdowns. “There were no utilities, no salaries, no food to purchase. This is far worse than COVID. We have the expense of remaining open, but no way to support that expense.”
The cause of such a slowdown is debatable and, at the moment, pointless. Is it gas prices? Sedona’s lowered visibility? Time and research will provide answers, but for now, our neighbors need our help. After two years of COVID followed by a robust economic rebound, small businesses – for whom life is always at least somewhat chaotic – are facing a mysterious and potentially catastrophic business slowdown.
What can be done?
One simple way you can help requires just a bit of mindfulness. Shop local. If you are thinking of gifts for summer graduates or birthdays, decide now to make a point of buying them here in town. If you are planning a lunch with friends, a weekend dinner or a celebratory evening out, make your choice from our local businesses. Take a holiday from online shopping and buy as many goods and services as you can right here, rather than from the internet giants. Look around for deals at our local resorts and enjoy a staycation. Surprise a friend or out-of-town relative with a gift card from a Sedona gallery or spa – or treat yourself. If you are unsure whether what you are looking for is available locally, visit sedonachamber.com and click “business directory” at the top of the page. You will find hundreds of choices conveniently arranged by category.
Shopping local does much more than help fellow Sedonans keep their businesses open. It also assures that your friends, neighbors, and maybe your teenagers – have a place to work this summer and beyond. In addition, it means the money employers pay out in salary gets recirculated locally as employees take care of their daily needs. Best of all, it is an exercise of the famous Sedona Way – being kind and thoughtful to our neighbors, especially when they could use a hand!
–Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau