The Greene County Legislature is committed to providing our local business with the ongoing services, support and promotion needed to succeed and thrive. During the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature immediately authorized the creation of a variety of online resources for Greene County business, provided links to important information, disseminated updates on NYS guidelines and restrictions, procured PPE and other supplies, and conducted virtual meetings to better understand the challenges faced by our business community.
Amidst COVID-19 restrictions, the Greene County Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Planning (GCEDT&P) worked closely with the Greene Industrial Development Agency (Greene IDA) and the Greene County Chamber of Commerce to engage with local businesses in various business sectors via Zoom to identify challenges and provide guidance, assistance, and solutions. In addition, the Greene County Legislature worked closely with these organizations to develop and release the Greene County Economic Redevelopment Plan.
Marketing efforts were re-directed to show consumers where to find local goods and services in support of our local businesses while maintaining safety protocols. The county’s Buy In Greene website was enhanced to enable users to find businesses operating under safety guidelines, and its Great Northern Catskills tourism website hosted a new ‘Take Out in Greene’ section to promote local restaurants that provided meals for pick-up. A new series of digital video ads featured representative local businesses from Retail, Hospitality, Home Improvement, Automotive, and Service Contractor sectors delivering an overarching positive message as they adapted to pandemic challenges. Individual owners affirmed their confidence in their customers, their communities, and the county as a great place to do business.
“Many of our local businesses became frustrated trying to interpret conflicting information coming from New York State” notes Warren Hart – Deputy County Administrator and Director of GCEDT&P. “Guidance and restrictions were constantly being changed or updated. We had many conversations with local owners and operators trying to sort through this confusion. It became our job to provide our businesses with the most up-to-date information.”
Greene County immediately expanded its Economic Development website (GreeneCountyEDC.com) with a landing page for local businesses that provides easy access to information and guidance on:
- Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs
- Small Businesses Pandemic Recovery Grant Program
- Technical Assistance
- Available Support
- Operational Protocols and NYS Restrictions
The Greene County Legislature enacted an emergency business loan program, allowed for the deferment of existing business loans through its Quantum Fund Revolving Loan Program, and distributed daily updates through social media and eNewsletters.
As restrictions were lifted, Greene County spearheaded efforts to help businesses staff-up for reopening. GCEDT&P joined with local hospitality businesses to produce an in-person job fair, partnered with the Columbia Greene Community College Workforce Center (CGCCWC) to hold a virtual job fair for all sectors of Greene County businesses. GCEDT&P also participated with CGCCWC and Columbia County in a joint virtual Career Jam to engage younger prospective workers.
Throughout the recovery, Greene County’s advertising and marketing programs continue to promote existing local businesses and position our communities to attract new and relocating businesses. The county’s Buy In Greene | Invest In Greene initiatives continue to grow followers on social media and monthly eNewsletters like Positively Greene. Interest in our communities and businesses has never been higher. GCEDT&P provides concierge service to assist businesses in relocation, growth, and expansion. More and more owners continue to list their businesses for free on BuyInGreene.com, and are promoted in seasonal advertising campaigns and celebrated in feature-length Success Stories.
“Even with everything we did to provide assistance during the pandemic, we know many of our local small businesses continue to face serious challenges” states Greene County Legislature Chairman, Patrick S. Linger. “Moving forward with prudent fiscal responsibility, the Greene County Legislature continues to remain focused on supporting our local businesses by providing the information, assistance, and promotion needed for them to thrive and grow.”