This is part of a year-long ‘Love for Local’ series called NB365: portraits of New Brunswick entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations. Huddle is a media partner with Love for Local. Today, we hear from David Duplisea of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce.
THE SAINT JOHN REGION CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS ONE OF THE OLDEST BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS IN CANADA. FORMED IN 1819 AT CODY’S COFFEE HOUSE ON PRINCE WILLIAM STREET IN SAINT JOHN, THE CHAMBER HAS ALWAYS BEEN AND SHALL ALWAYS BE CHAMPIONS OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.
As a private sector-led business organization, what sets up apart is that we are 100 percent focused on championing for our members, and are not one of the various government organizations. The Chamber works with numerous stakeholders and businesses in the community. From the small mom & pop shops to the large multinationals and Business Improvements Associations (BIA’s), and all levels of government.
Throughout the pandemic, The Chamber has tried to lead as a trusted source of up-to-date information and government regulations that benefit and assist businesses. Our Online Information Centre, launched the day after the first set of restrictions was announced over a year ago, had up to 4,500 visitors a week.
We also launched an online “Getting Back to Business”, a curated collection of businesses that were safely pivoting to new models in order to better serve their customers. This too had thousand of visitors learning more about what businesses were open and how to access their products and services.
Throughout this time we have stayed in constant contact with our members and have worked with them so we left no one behind. We discontinued NO memberships and helped to transition these businesses into recovery mode rather than survival mode. Throughout this time, we have seen incredible compassion from our local businesses and members of the community.
It has been a terrible year, and people have come together with a renewed sense of pride and place in addition to incredible resilience. Local businesses make a difference because they ARE our community, they are our friends and family and neighbours. They are the backbone of our communities.