Oakdale Chamber of Commerce officials have put together some ideas to aid local businesses, with many struggling to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chamber CEO Mary Guardiola said normally, this week would see hotels filled up and local restaurants bustling with business as rodeo competitors and fans flocked to Oakdale for the annual PRCA rodeo. But the event, hosted annually by the Oakdale Saddle Club, has been postponed because of the pandemic.
“The hotels are empty. There is no business travel, no tourism travel,” Guardiola noted.
She added that “life has changed dramatically right before our eyes” over the past couple of weeks.
“Our community that was founded on agriculture, hard work and being together faces adversity like we have never experienced in our lifetime. It’s been amazing to see businesses transform within hours and days. Many businesses doing delivery and curbside pickup, dance and exercise studios offering virtual classes … The list goes on,” she said. “Oakdale is strong. We are resilient. Together we will all come out of this stronger, with more compassion and innovation than ever.”
Chamber officials ask residents to take these steps to help support the local economy: Purchase a gift card online to use at a later date, as this will help the business with cash flow; engage online with your favorite businesses, share and comment on their posts; if you have a membership or subscription to a business, continue paying it if you can.
Also, open up a tab for future services at a business you know you’ll patronize in the future and order takeout or delivery and over tip if you have the means. Plan a virtual cocktail hour with friends and take the amount that you would have spent on your beverage and donate it to your favorite establishment. You could also do this with coffee meetings. Ask a business owner how you can help; this kind gesture will go a long way. Have a local restaurant charge your card for a specific amount and then reach out to first responders and health care providers and let them know that coffee, lunch, etc. is on you.
“Follow Oakdale Chamber on Facebook and learn about dozens of local businesses and what they are currently offering and how you can help them,” Guardiola added.
When you support a local business, Guardiola said share it via social media.
“Take a photo, tag the business and let your friends and family know how they too can help our local businesses during this time of uncertainty.”
As far as the Chamber events, the Oakdale Chocolate Festival has been postponed until mid-September while other events include a new date for Pours in Stores on June 4; Ag lunch on June 18 and a golf tournament on Aug. 10.
“We may not be able to control much of what is happening around us, but we can control how we come together as a community,” Guardiola said. “Let’s continue to stay positive, check in on one another and support our local businesses. And please let the Oakdale Chamber know how we can be of further assistance by contacting me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.”