(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 175,000 Americans. While that figure is well documented, data on how many businesses that have died is scarce.
According to Yelp, about 80,000 businesses permanently closed between March and July, and those were small businesses or firms with fewer than 5 locations.
That's why the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce is launching its "Champions of Commerce" campaign to impress upon shoppers that they have the power to save small businesses and jobs.
“Those that are most in need, which frankly are our small businesses, they’re the ones that have the least opportunity to overcome something like this,” St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Patt Lilly said.
Aaron Old the owner of Lanham Music on Belt Highway is one of the businesses featured in the campaign.
“We were closed down for about six weeks trying to do more internet sales, curbside pick-up but the numbers were definitely down quite a lot during that time,” Old said.
Since the store opened back up sales have been steady. However, because Lanham typically relies on music lessons and instrument rentals for area students, this year presents a lot of unknowns.
The chamber says the two-part strategy will help shoppers and business owners adapt to the new world.