ALLIANCE APPLAUDS REGION’S BUSINESSES IN SETTING REOPENING EXAMPLE FOR STATE

Northern Michigan Region businesses look forward to June 10 reopening

NORTHERN MI – The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance recognized the efforts of northern Michigan’s business owners, workforce, and community members to stay safe to stay open as Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the June 10 move of regions 6 and 8 to Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan and the reopening of all businesses. The expanded reopening recognizes the efforts made by businesses and their customers to set an example for the state since the May 22 reopening of restaurants, bars, and retailers with capacity limits and other safety precautions.

“This announcement is welcomed by our rural northern Michigan communities and is a testament to our businesses’ commitment to keeping employees and customers safe during the reopening process,” said Stacie Bytwork, the chairperson of the Alliance and president of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce. This announcement comes just days after the Alliance sent a letter to Governor Whitmer offering northern Michigan communities as partners in continued reopening. “We look forward to more businesses having open signs in their windows,” she continued.

“Chambers and economic development organizations within the Alliance have been working hard to support the tireless reopening efforts of our business communities,” said Amy Clickner, vice-chairperson of the Alliance and CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership. She continued, “We know there is still much work to do and we will continue to serve as the business voice and advocate on behalf of northern Michigan.”

The Alliance has continued advocacy efforts to ensure the rural northern Michigan voice is included in reopening discussions. On June 3, the Alliance sent a letter to Governor Whitmer stating, “Our businesses have taken the task of reopening seriously. Not only do we realize that northern Michigan is showcasing reopening efforts for the entire state, but we also know that the reopening of additional businesses is dependent on the success of our current efforts. The rural northern Michigan business community is eager to welcome our cinemas, fitness centers, hair salons, bowling alleys, and more, back online.”

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance continues to support chambers, economic development organizations, and their member businesses by providing timely information and advocating for rural business needs at the state and federal levels. The Alliance is engaged in delivering industry-specific information, access to funding opportunities, and working to ensure the northern Michigan voice is represented in reopening discussions. More information on the Alliance’s latest work can be found at nmichiganbusiness.com.

About the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance:

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is a coalition of chambers and economic development organizations in Alpena, Benzie, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, East Jordan, Elk Rapids, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, Manistee, Marquette, Petoskey, Sault Area, and Traverse City. The Alliance exists to advocate for rural northern Michigan and move forward rural-centric business policy.

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ALLIANCE SAYS NORTHERN MICHIGAN IS READY TO GET BACK TO WORK

Northern Michigan businesses have proven they can reopen safely

NORTHERN MI – The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance yesterday sent a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, once again offering northern Michigan communities as partners in continued reopening. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance represents 16 chambers and economic development organizations and over 7,000 member businesses from all across northern Michigan.

This request comes after the Alliance joined Governor Whitmer in announcing the first phase of reopening by retail businesses, restaurants, and bars in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula late last month. In their most recent letter, the Alliance states, “Our businesses have taken the task of reopening seriously. Not only do we realize that northern Michigan is showcasing reopening efforts for the entire state, but we also know that the reopening of additional businesses is dependent on the success of our current efforts. The rural northern Michigan business community is eager to welcome our cinemas, fitness centers, hair salons, bowling alleys, and more, back online”.

Stacie Bytwork, the chairperson of the Alliance and president of the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce, shared that chambers and economic development organizations have been pivotal in reopening efforts. “Our chambers have partnered with public health and supported our business communities to ensure we can stay safe to stay open.” Amy Clickner, vice-chairperson of the Alliance and CEO of the Lake Superior Community Partnership said, “Northern Michigan has successfully showcased safe reopening and we’re ready to reopen our gyms and hair salons – sectors of our economy that value the health and wellness – and safety – of their customers.”

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance continues to support chambers, economic development organizations, and their member businesses by providing timely information and advocating for rural business needs at the state and federal levels. The Alliance is engaged in delivering industry-specific information, access to funding opportunities, and working to ensure the northern Michigan voice is represented in reopening discussions. More information on the Alliance’s latest work can be found at nmichiganbusiness.com.

About the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance:

The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is a coalition of chambers and economic development organizations in Alpena, Benzie, Boyne City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, East Jordan, Elk Rapids, Gaylord, Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, Manistee, Marquette, Petoskey, Sault Area, and Traverse City. The Alliance exists to advocate for rural northern Michigan and move forward rural-centric business policy.

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Your Business Advocacy Partner

In a recent article on the value of chambers, Principal of the lobbying firm and our advocacy partner Acuitas, Sarah Hubbard, shared that, “No other organization represents the business community like a chamber of commerce.” In follow-up to the article, an episode of Spotlight Podcasts continued the discussion on the value of chambers, including the role of government relations. The Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance knows this to be true and has been hard at work – 16 chambers and economic development organizations and over 7,000 member businesses strong – advocating for rural northern Michigan businesses.

We’ve been here all along – and now more than ever. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have worked to ensure we best represent you and serve as the voice of business. We’ve done that by calling you, talking with your employees, and collecting your feedback through surveys, like the Regional Reopening Plan. We’ve utilized your feedback to focus our engagement during the crisis on a set of solutions so we can drive the economic recovery of our region.

The Alliance has been working to ensure that businesses have access to resources, and we’ve been advocating for additional resources, like PPP loan funds. We’ve been monitoring important issues to ensure that the northern Michigan perspective is included, like submitting feedback to and meeting with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission on behalf of our bars and restaurants. We’ve helped prep businesses for reopening through industry forums on manufacturing, construction, retail, and more. We know that as a business owner, your time is precious – which is why we’ve worked to connect you with experts – like the unemployment webinar with individuals from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

In order for us to advocate for you and your business, the Alliance also knows it’s important for us to stay up-to-date on the newest information and be knowledgeable on policies that affect rural northern Michigan. We’ve hosted discussions for our Alliance members so we can better serve you – like a budget boot camp to prep members on the state budget process or a housing discussion on how to address issues amplified by COVID-19.

After weeks of advocacy, the Alliance joined the Governor in announcing the reopening of certain businesses in rural northern Michigan. And while it was certainly an accomplishment to be recognized for our advocacy efforts, we know the hard work is not over; in fact, it’s just begun. We will be relentless until all of our businesses have the opportunity to open safely and our communities may begin the recovery process. Thank you to our business community for your resiliency. It is our honor to support your work and our communities.

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