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In the know with Osceola Chamber Main Street

Event Updates, New Resources and Community Projects of Support

The OCMS Executive Committee and Board met via Zoom this past week. The main topic of discussions centered on the calendar of events, supporting businesses, budget and event sponsorships. As a non-profit responsible for every major Osceola event and many smaller events throughout the year, OCMS depends on membership funds and sponsor fees to operate.

If events are cancelled, businesses are not billed for the sponsorship, but for OCMS to continue to support business, expenses continue. If any business has not yet sent membership to OCMS, now is the time.

Executive Director, Ashleigh Eckels is pleased with all the community cooperation, “We are evaluating all our events and looking at creative solutions to still have them and abide by the rules set in place. Thank you all for your support we couldn’t do it without you. Let’s continue to be strong and we will get through this together!” To stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 resources go to the OCMS website, www.osceolachamber.com or sign up for the Monday Morning Update.

June Events Postponed

As it stands now, the June events, Meet Your OCMS Members and the OCMS Annual Golf Tournament are postponed, as are all June Thursday in the Park dates, but some of these events may be rescheduled for late summer or early fall.

Each month OCMS produces 300+ table tents with the money sponsors allocate to this advertising. With so many businesses closed, and events cancelled, table tent production temporarily ceased. OCMS staff is reaching out to sponsors to get input to proceed. In most cases, the sponsorship can move to another month later in the year.

The Latest in Business Resources

Eckels receives regular correspondence from the Small Business Administration, Main Street Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Administration, “These organizations are doing a phenomenal job keeping us up-to-date with everything happening in this fast-paced environment and are providing valuable resources for us to share. We are trying our hardest to get the information pushed out to reach everyone. Check our website regularly and subscribe to our Monday Morning Update e-mail newsletter to stay up to date. “

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Health Care Enhancement Act, signed April 24th, adds an additional $320 billion for the PPP, which incentivizes businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. Applications will resume on Monday, April 27 at 9:30 AM. To apply for the funding, contact an approved SBA lender.

Since the passage of the CARES Act, more than 1.66 million small business have been supported by the PPP nationally. Iowa businesses had 29,000 loans approved resulting in more than $4.3 billion in funding.

America’s Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) Iowa’s professionally certified consultants provide confidential, no-cost consulting to help affected businesses navigate all the loans, grants and other challenges. The SBDC also launched the Small Business Five Day Challenge : http://iowasbdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Americas-SBDC-Iowa-Small-Business-5-Day-Challenge-press-release

Wednesday, April 29th, Main Street Iowa’s Business Specialist, Robin Bostrom, led a webinar to discuss Marketing for Small Businesses. The handout from this meeting is available here: https://iowa1.sharepoint.com/sites/IowaDowntownResourceCenter/Shared Documents/Forms/AllItems

Iowa Small Business Relief Fund (provided by an alliance of Iowa organizations)- offering grants between $500-$3,500 for eligible small businesses. To be eligible, businesses are required to have 1-7 employees prior to March 17, 2020 and not have been a recipient of Federal and State Small Business Relief dollars.  The application period is now open. https://www.empowermoney.org/smallbusinessrelief

COVID-19 Relief Fund for cosmetologist, barber, hair, esthetics, instructor, make-up, massage therapy, nail tech, and specialty. The Professional Beauty Association is offering a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help support licensed beauty professionals who have not been able to work or are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This fund will provide $500 for short-term immediate needs such as food and bills. Applications will be reviewed daily, Monday through Friday, and they will be funded using a lottery system as donations are received so that all eligible applicants have an equal chance of receiving aid. https://www.probeauty.org/covid-relief-fund-application

American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund - To help directly support farmers impacted by the current crisis, American Farmland Trust is launching a new Farmer Relief Fund. https://farmland.org/farmer-relief-fund/

Osceola Sentinel and Advertiser Grant Opportunity - To apply for this grant program or find more information, please visit www.shawmedia.com/community-grantand complete the online application. Grant credits will be awarded in April, May and June and must be used within the month.

The Osceola Community Steps-Up in Times of Need

The Osceola Community and businesses are known for helping in times of need. Whether it is putting their resources and skills to use in supplying personal protective equipment, food donations, or discounts, businesses and citizens are giving what they can. OCMS invites everyone to “Take the Pledge” by locally spending their stimulus check. “It is amazing to see the community come together like this, this is what makes Clarke County such a great place to live and work,” said Eckels.

Boyt Harness Company employees and a group of off-site community sewers produced over 7,000 masks for sale and distribution throughout the community. American State Bank purchased 2,000 masks for donation to community health care agencies, including Clarke County Hospital, Clarke County Public Health and Southern Hills Specialty Care. ASB is also furnishing them to their employees and customers. Hormel purchased 2,000 masks for employees andNAI Electrical Contractorsworking at Hormel bought 2, 000. DHL purchased 800 masks, and 400 masks were sent to various other individuals, company employees, etc.

According to Boyt Employee, Judy Kjellson, Boyt employees can assemble and construct about 500 masks per day and they will continue while there is a need. Their volunteers or extra workers have contributed 1,400 masks to the efforts. Boyt either pays the home sewers directly or donates to their churches, etc. for their work.

Other Osceola Businesses: Altec, Simco Drilling Equipment, Cathy’s Auto Body and Cactus Farms donated masks and gloves to Southern Hills Specialty Care employees.

Chat Mobility launched a texting fundraising campaign to support local food pantries. Find information about “Food 4 Others Campaign” @ chatmobility.com

McDonald’s Lovin’ the Community program offers discounts for Health Care Workers and First Responders.

Join the Facebook Group - Clarke County Take Out & Delivery to see the latest specials from local restaurants! Pay it forward by buying gift certificates to use later or to give to essential workers. To see the latest in restaurant services, please sign-up for the Monday Morning Update by emailing ocms@osceolaia.net

Support Needed!

MOSAIC of South Central Iowa serves some of the most vulnerable residents in Osceola. Their support staff needs reusable gowns. If you can sew, or can donate material, please contact Kasi Shaw kasi.shaw@mosaicinfo.org

How are you supporting the community or businesses during the pandemic? OCMS wants to hear from you.

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