Guest commentary: Small business in Colorado needs help now
While each mountain community in Colorado has its own identity, deep rooted history, unique claims to fame and awe inspiring open spaces, what binds us together is our collective experiences and similar circumstances of living in a mountain town. Although there are passionate arguments about which trail or ski resort may be the best, one thing we can agree upon is that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit mountain towns hard, especially our small businesses, which are an integral part of our communities. Politics may differ from region to region, but right now differences need to be put aside to ensure the survival of our business, and with it, the local economies of mountain towns in Colorado.
The Vail Valley Partnership, Steamboat Springs Chamber, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and the Basalt Chamber are united with our fellow Coloradan chambers and others across the nation, as members of the Save Small Business Coalition (SSBC). Since the initial days of the pandemic, chambers have been working behind the scenes to impact decisions made in Congress, in an effort to better support the business community. This effort has now expanded well beyond local and regional chambers across the United States. Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, along with over 8,700 business owners and CEO’s from top companies, are part of our collective effort in asking for Congress to act now — it is essential to provide support to small businesses.
The SSBC, including local chambers, are focused on four key areas:
Payroll Protection Program reform
Business Liability Protection
Local Aid (providing additional financial support from state and local municipalities)
These four focus areas have bipartisan support and will have the maximum positive impact to small businesses across the country, including the mountain towns of Colorado.
While the CARES Act and its associated programs provided relief and aid, small businesses across the country require additional meaningful support, including right here in the Rocky Mountains. Additional legislation has been introduced, but not yet passed, leaving small business and their communities in a dangerous financial holding pattern. Multiple pieces of legislation may be required to provide the necessary solutions for area businesses, and the SSBC supports any and all congressional efforts that address the four key areas that will have a major impact on the economy.
As chambers — the first responders of the business community — we work collaboratively across counties, regions and even the nation, to represent our members and be a loud voice for the business community. Time is of the essence — it is incumbent upon both parties to work together and find bipartisan solutions to fund meaningful support to our businesses, our communities and our people.
The chamber community stands strong together, and we ask our elected officials in Congress do the same, because there is so much at risk. Inaction is not an option. To our members, fellow businesses, residents and visitors — we ask that you make your voice heard too. Your support further emphasizes the needs of our communities and the importance of collaboration and action. We have different reasons for why we love the communities where we live, work and play, however we are united in the desire to preserve our mountain towns. Help us stand stronger together — ask Congress to act now. It is incumbent upon both parties to work together to fund meaningful support to our businesses, our communities and our people.
Angie Anderson, Glenwood Chamber Resort Association
Chris Romer, Vail Valley Partnership
Kara Stoller, Steamboat Springs Chamber
Kris Mattera, Basalt Chamber of Commerce