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OPINION: The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce's executive director explains how his organization works.

The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce exists to harness the power of the collective. We are an association of businesses and nonprofit organizations that connects leaders and influencers, is a catalyst for business growth, and is a champion for the community. We engage in activities that foster commerce, support industry, and resolve challenges to the business environment.

Since the pandemic began, we have been busier than ever.

With businesses busy learning how to retain employees and operate under new conditions, the Chamber embraces the role as a conduit of information.

We regularly participate in hours of calls, webinars, and virtual forums with city, state, and national officials. We summarize and share what we learn about mask enforcement, the do's and don'ts of each reopening phase, and the issues of PPE, PPP, and EIDL. We welcome any to sign up for our weekly e-updates by going to SherwoodChamber.org.

The Chamber co-hosts with the city of Sherwood a weekly check-in call. Every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m., we invite businesses and community members to share best practices and ask questions of the Chamber and the city.

Guest speakers frequently address specific topics and answer questions. We have been privileged to have the governor's office, Oregon Health Authority, state Rep. Courtney Neron, state Sen. Kim Thatcher, Sherwood Police Chief Jeff Groth and others to speak directly to our community and answer questions. To access future weekly calls, go to https://bit.ly/SmallBusinessCheck-InCall.

With cashflow being a source of stress for businesses, we seek out and funnel information about grants. We are especially grateful to the city of Sherwood for being one of the first municipalities in the region to issue nearly $200,000 in grants to area businesses when the pandemic first began.

There is also a surge in the number of people interested in launching their own business. To assist with this spirit of entrepreneurship, the Chamber is partnering with the city to host a monthly Small Business & Entrepreneur Education Series. On the third Thursday of each month until June 2021, anyone can participate at no cost thanks to a Community Enhancement Program grant by Metro and the sponsor, Banner Bank. Each session will focus on different elements of starting and maintaining a successful business. Learn more at sherwoodchamber.org.

The Chamber supports locations that are required to enforce mask-wearing. In addition to providing signage and window clings, the Chamber encourages mask wearing in the press, on social media posts and through weekly e-updates. Customers who either refuse to wear a mask or who cannot due to medical reasons but still insist on entering the premises put businesses at risk of liability claims from employees and other customers and fines from state enforcement agencies.

The Chamber spends time writing to and speaking with elected officials about how the various COVID-19-related policies impact Sherwood businesses. When appropriate, we advocate for changes that will give our businesses a fighting chance to survive during the shutdown.

The Chamber is committed to being a resource center for members, visitors and entrepreneurs. Our new office location on the corner of Southwest Railroad and Park streets in Old Town is inviting and includes a space for small gatherings or meetings. We have many maps and guides for visitors and new move-ins, as well as worksheets and brochures for those looking to start a business.

The Chamber has enjoyed a long relationship in Sherwood with the community. While COVID-19 has been a hardship for all, we are committed to supporting our employers and citizens and providing useful resources.

If you would like to get involved in the Chamber and be a part of the force that maintains and grows a positive business environment, please call 503-625-7800 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stay safe!

Corey Kearsley is executive director of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce.


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