Who’s Ready to reboot Sutherlin?

The COVID-19 economic crash and shutdown has had and is continuing to have a major impact on our business community, especially the service-related businesses such as retail, restaurants, hospitality and personal care. Here at the Sutherlin Area Chamber of Commerce our goal right now is to reboot Sutherlin.

Reboot, you say?

Well, to reboot a computer is to start it up again. Rebooting is usually necessary after a computer crashes.

Isn’t that what happened to our economy?

Now that Douglas County has entered Phase I in lifting the restrictions from the COVID-19 closures, we all can start the process of rebooting our local economy in a safe manner together. Just like when a computer crashes, the reboot process can take a while. However, in the case of our economy we are looking at years as opposed to minutes.

Oregon employers have shed more than 400,000 jobs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and state economists are estimating that it will take four years before we return to pre-pandemic employment levels.

As consumers, we are all in control of how quickly our local economy recovers. Making simple choices as to where you shop or where you choose to dine out makes the difference. In making your decisions, choose local businesses. You know the ones, those small businesses who are the first to donate to our local charities and community organizations.

Now, as restrictions are being gradually lifted, I know that I appreciate and look forward with enthusiasm the return to engaging in every day tasks that were deemed unsafe for a time. As I venture out more, I appreciate and applaud all of our businesses who have been busy putting even more safeguards in place to limit personal contact.

All of these measures, however, don’t come cheap. We, as consumers, need to recognize the added cost of doing business and providing these valuable services to us as customers.

Now, you may have heard me talk about how our town is different. We are a unique community that has a heart of service and supports one another. In talking with some local small businesses here in Sutherlin, they have seen amazing displays of generosity from their loyal customers and they have shared their appreciation.

We also have amazingly generous and supportive businesses. Local businesses owners have also been checking in on one another throughout this time and have been supporting one another. One local business approached our chamber and is purchasing thousands of dollars in gift certificates to give to their employees to be used at local businesses here in Sutherlin.

It’s steps like this that will speed the process of rebooting our small town economy.

As we roll into the summer months, our travel and recreation options are still being limited by each cancellation and closure. Many of us are looking for recreational activities that allow for plenty of social distancing. We are fortunate here in Sutherlin and Douglas County to have all of that and more right in our backyard.

We are centrally located to enjoy quick road trips to the Cascades or to the coast range. As we venture out this summer on your short excursions, or plan for stay-cations, your little choices can impact our local economy. Go ahead and visit that cute little shop, make that appointment for a relaxing massage or dine out at the little restaurant around the corner.

You have the power to restart our economy.

After a crash, the computer is useless until you reboot. Rebooting allows for a restart to get everything working normally. Let’s look at our local economy in that same way. Let’s all work together to reboot our small-town economies and reboot Sutherlin!

Tracy Martz is the Executive Director for the Sutherlin Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

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