The Monrovia Chamber of Commerce, as with so many businesses, has very limited hours during the pandemic. Beacon Media sat down (albeit via Zoom) with Monrovia chamber executives Tuesday to better understand problems and learn to navigate the business difficulties owners face with the pandemic.
Victor Hyunh, vice president, is doing outreach to many members and getting feedback on how they can help.
“They’ve been fantastic thus far in providing help/information to members across the city. I think it’s a matter of ‘business needs far outweigh’ the support either the chamber or city can provide,” City Manager Dylan Feik told Monrovia Weekly.
Leading off the meeting was Sari Canales — who pointed out that of the 424 members Monrovia Chamber supports, the issues facing each business varies considerably.
With limited resources and peoplepower, the chamber is also facing difficulties. But, focusing on shopping local is critical for all of us, the chamber points out.
The chamber has been promoting takeout and “lunch mob” events to assist local restaurants for some time, but the lunch mob program has dwindled due to coronavirus concerns, Canales said.
The success of the expanded outdoor dining with the city’s help has boosted foot traffic especially in Old Town, the chamber said. That, in addition to the re-introduction of the street fair on Friday, hopefully will attract more than just restaurant patrons.
Canales said the chamber is hoping to plan an October Wine Walk in Old Town which would generate more foot traffic to all retail businesses. Working closely with Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board, the chamber hopes to finalize details soon.
The devastating effects and concerns regarding the coronavirus are exponential and trickle down to just about every business in the United States as well as globally. It is for this reason so many businesses are either operating on limited hours or simply waiting out the pandemic storm with an eye to 2021.
Locally, Comic Cellar, a local record shop, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Party City, Myrtle Tree Café and the Monrovian Restaurant have either closed or are remodeling, pending pandemic progression.
Other businesses have complained to the city that signage issues have also been too restrictive and hope the city will give retail more leeway to inform residents that they are now open.
The chamber conceded that the number one complaint they hear is high rent. Regrettably, there is nothing any chamber of commerce can do about this aspect. The eviction moratorium in L.A. County is valid through September, with a possible extension in the works. However, this does not necessarily mean businesses are out of the woods, just merely buying time.
In the coming months, Beacon Media plans to focus on small business in conjunction with the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce. We welcome community input and hope to start more of a dialogue of local business success as well as struggles so many are facing. We welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can help each other within our own communities. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.