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The GCCC(Galion-Crestline chambers) see signs of economic recovery

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The GCCC(Galion-Crestline chambers) see signs of economic recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic made traditional forecast breakfasts impractical, so the Bucyrus Area and the GCCC(Galion-Crestline chambers of commerce) teamed up for an online-only event Thursday morning.

Jessie Furner and Miranda Jones, executive directors of the Bucyrus and GCCC, respectively, took advantage of the format, asking speakers — including Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted — to film their comments in advance.

“It’s very, very important that we get the economic recovery in 2021”

Husted, whose wife Tina is a Colonel Crawford High School graduate, said he and Gov. Mike DeWine believe 2021 will be “a year of recovery.”

“It’s very, very important that we get the economy moving in 2021,” he said.

The economic recovery plan included in DeWine’s two-year state budget recommendations is a $1 billion plan “targeted largely at rural Ohio and the communities that make up rural Ohio,” Husted said, encouraging local leaders to take advantage of the programs it includes.

We want to be sure this is an inclusive recovery that includes all parts of the state, certainly rural Ohio and certainly the people from your area,” he said.

The 2021 Crawford County Business Forecast and Economic Development Update, which was livestreamed on both chambers’ Facebook pages, kicked off with a bit of humor provided by two longtime chamber directors, Joe Kleinknecht and Deb Pinion.

“You know these kids these days running the chambers, they’ve got to do this fancy stuff,” Kleinknecht said in the introduction after Pinion asked if it was “one of those Zumba meetings.”

Many of the presenters spoke of the challenges the community faced in 2020.

“Come March, we were in the middle of tax season, doing our normal services, and then the pandemic hit,” said Roger Miller, president and CEO of Mizick-Miller. “We had to switch gears very quickly. We went from preparing tax returns to preparing and processing well over 300 PPP loans for small businesses in our local communities.”

John Bassett, one of the owners of Iron Vault Distillery, recounted how his business quickly converted to the production of hand sanitizer last spring — something it plans to continue to produce even after the pandemic.

At the same time, “people have maybe bought a little more alcohol than they have in the past,” he said. The distillery’s tasting room has flourished.

The Crawford Partnership is now developing its strategic plan for 2030, said executive director Gary Frankhouse, asking people to participate in its ongoing survey.

“A Transportation Improvement District, or TID, has been created for our county and will aid in the funding of opportunities for projects related to roads and infrastructure,” he said. Also, efforts will continue to highlight U.S. 30.

“We’re eager to continue the work we’ve started and build on the successes and collaborative partnerships we’ve already established,” Frankhouse said.

“How well you fared in 2020 was purely a function of what kind of business you had”

Jim Spreng, founder and capital of Jim Spreng Management, said “time will tell” how much damage the American economy incurred during the pandemic.

“How well you fared in 2020 was purely a function of what kind of business you had,” he said. “If you were able to work from home, you survived or even thrived.”

Despite herd immunity and vaccinations, COVID-19 probably will linger, Spreng said.

“It will not magically disappear,” he said. There will be outbreaks, and we as a society and an economy will try to figure out how to manage these outbreaks.”

While outbreaks may be no more serious than a normal outbreak of the flu, businesses will have to learn to adapt.

“If your business requires people to congregate in large numbers or work side-by-side, you’re going to have to continue to adapt,” he said. “Ventilation or air movement is a huge factor — so is spacing.”

The agriculture sector, vitally important to Crawford County, “looks poised to have a good year,” Spreng said.

Spreng predicted a worldwide recovery when the COVID calamity subsides.

“A combination of stimulus, low interest rates until at least the beginning of 2023, and a worldwide economic recovery all bode well for all economic conditions for 2021,” he said.

“2020 is thankfully behind us,” he said. “Let’s hope 2021 begins the sustained recovery from the damage that was incurred. We are cautiously optimistic in 2021, that it will be a good year for most of our businesses in Crawford County.”

Other speakers included Dawn Ratliff of ADM Benefit Plans Agency, Inc.; Mendy Sellman of Rus-Men Farms; Amanda Sheets of Crawford Success Center; Joe Dzugan of Dzugan Real Estate; and Amber Wertman of United Way of North Central Ohio.

Source: Google News
#chamber of commerce #chambers #chamber news #business #economic

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