Florham Park, NJ. January 7, 2021 The Hispanic Affairs Council, a forum within the Morris County Chamber of Commerce (“Chamber”) (morrischamber.org), announces the launch of a virtual Main Street “storefront” webpage to aid small business owners experiencing a drop in traditional foot traffic due to the pandemic. The concept was born out of a partnership with the Morris County Economic Development Corporation (“MCEDC”) (morriscountyedc.org), a division of the Chamber and a partnership between the business community and the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders to aid Morris County Hispanic owned businesses: a community that has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
he MCEDC will support the development of a pilot program to educate businesses on the available options for e-commerce including the use of tools such as clover and square to market their goods and services. Businesses will have the opportunity to post profiles on the website for a nominal fee. Hispanic business owners will be provided the resources to create websites that will allow them to reach existing customers and attract new ones. The links to the websites will also be featured as part of the greater Virtual Main Street “storefront” webpage on the MCEDC website.
In an attempt to assist Hispanic-owned small businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, the MCEEC will provide four businesses that do not currently have e-commerce capabilities, with technical services grants to aid in the development of setup of a commerce platform.
“The Hispanic Affairs Council launched just four months ago.” Said Katherine O’Hara, president of Morristown-based The O’Hara Project and Hispanic Affairs Council co-chair. “We see this inaugural project as evidence of the council’s intentions to respond real-time to the needs of the county’s Hispanic-owned or focused businesses. While the virtual storefront’s inaugural businesses are Hispanic-owned, the platform looks support the viability of Morris County’s entire vibrant small business community.”
“Many small businesses are struggling with reduced revenue due to the pandemic. With the prospect of colder weather bringing continued struggles, the storefront will be a vibrant online presence for Main Street retail and service-focused small businesses that include restaurants, salons, clothing, accessories, grocers and others,” said Meghan Hunscher, President and CEO of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. “The effort aligns with the increased consumer demand for online resources during the pandemic and pending holiday season.”
“Providing information about e-commerce platforms and reduced cost assistance to businesses to implement furthers our mission to connect businesses with the resources that they need to connect with customers and be successful” says Ed Ramirez, Director of Business Resources and Professional Development for the MCEDC. “In addition to meeting a demand or need, businesses create jobs, pay taxes and rent, donate to local causes and so making businesses more resilient during these challenging times makes our communities stronger.”
Lorena Sergent, President of Sparta-based LW&H Business Solutions and Hispanic Affairs Council co-chair feels strongly that “This storefront will deliver concrete solutions that will help drive success for the businesses in the county, allowing visitors to discover Main Street-style boutique shops, many of whom didn’t have prior online presences.
The storefront virtual ribbon-cutting, officially opening the storefronts to community shopping, is estimated to take place on February 1, 2021.
Business owners interested in learning more about the virtual storefront can learn more by visiting https://www.morriscountyedc.org/virtual-storefront-program-details/ or watching an information session viewable on the MCEDC’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7ZctMk5etJP1ctUcqIfpbg/videos.
Businesses wishing to be considered for a technical services grant can apply by visiting https://www.morriscountyedc.org/virtual-storefront-grant-application/
About The Chamber: The Morris County Chamber of Commerce provides a platform for members to connect, collaborate and succeed. We are dedicated to the advancement of our county's businesses and community by providing services, information and advocacy to support the success of our member organizations.
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About The MCEDC The Morris County Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit division of The Morris County Chamber of Commerce, assists businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, or managing a multinational conglomerate, the MCEDC can help you navigate the many local, regional, state, and federal resources for business assistance. This includes workforce training, sources of financing, bespoke networking, data you need for business growth and more.
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