Educating Local Business to Keep Small Shops Open
[Intro] Welcome to chats with chambers with your hosts Patrick Kirby and Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each week we connect and learn from executives of chambers of commerce from across the country. These short episodes will share success stories, challenges, best practices, and tips and tricks to inspire you, and provide resources for hitting your organizational goals. From recruiting new and retaining current members to finding new and creative revenue sources. You’ll hear straight from those leading chambers and communities throughout the US. Chats with chambers is proudly brought to you by the Nonprofit bootcamp. Learn more and check out the show notes for episodes at https://nonprofitbootcamponline.com
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of chats with chambers. I am so excited to be joined today by Amanda Moreira from the Jacksonville Oregon Chamber of Commerce. Amanda, thank you so much for joining us today.
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Thank you for having me. It’s good opportunity.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, so why don’t we just start off by sharing kind of what Where is Jacksonville? Like, what is Jacksonville known for? Like, tell us all the amazing things about your community?
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Okay, well, Jacksonville is a small town in southern Oregon, where our population is by little under 3000 for about 45 minutes from the California border. So we’re surrounded by Ashlyn Medford grants pastor to some of our larger towns in the area. It really is the our kind of slogan and motto is the heart. So the northern Southern Oregon wine country. So we are between the Applegate we have just tons of wineries kind of like almost Napa, before it was Napa and California, is sometimes people explain it in that way. And we were actually the beginning parts are really kind of what structured it to be one of those today in the 1860s was one of the mall towns that really became part of the established towns in Oregon, we were going to be part of the railroad, but that changed direction. So really helped to preserve our historic architecture and buildings in the area, which is really attracts people to the town to come and visit us everything is really well preserved. And we have a stork one of historic towns and Oregon. So we’re known for that for people to come and see and just kind of be part of something really different than anything surrounding our area or even outside of Oregon.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. And so how does that kind of historic piece play into kind of the types of businesses that are in your area and how you have to support them.
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] So we really have all small businesses, we don’t have any large buildings, any you know, big chains that are in the area, it’s really business own people who live and work in our area and our town. Primarily, they are live in Jacksonville, and they own businesses in Jacksonville as well. So that really kind of caters to the part that they you know, they want to preserve it, they want to keep that economy going. And they help to do that. And so we have like the only toy store in Jacksonville is throughout in the you know, in the whole region to really have that, you know, someone helping you not going off on Amazon or to another store that you can have that kind of someone guiding you in your search or anything that you’re looking for. Same with our kitchen stores, even our lodging, we don’t have any, you know, big holiday ends or anything like that there are boutique hotels, and and you know Bed and Breakfast and you know, kind of that really small town feel.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] That’s so cool. I love that I come from a small town myself. And so it’s always that like push and pull right when big chains kind of want to come in? And like how do you kind of keep that feel of yes, the natural history of where you’re at. So kind of what’s one thing that you would say you’re really proud of that the Jacksonville chamber, like what’s a big win, that you all have accomplished.
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] I think just being part of the chamber and having a lot of our businesses be part of our membership, it really caters to that they have they want to support us, they want to partner with us. And they see that that really helps them as well, for those that don’t have the funds to do marketing themselves. And you know, need someone to rely on, we also help them with anything on social media that they need or that you know, kind of extends that arm on to that, helping them get the word out through publications and things that you know, they wouldn’t have be able to do otherwise.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So do you feel like like your businesses kind of come arm and arm with each other and are all kind of trying to help support each other and building that community like is it kind of a collaborative effort that the chamber just helps to facilitate?
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] I think a lot of our businesses see in that respect that they know that, you know, together we can do more than they can do separately, and we kind of use our funds that we can do. Our whole goal is to support our businesses, everything that we do is you know, in that momentum trying to support them and anything that they can do to, you know, for their businesses. So all of our events, all of our planning, all of our publications are to bring them you know, to the wineries for wine tasting, bring the lodging in, and that kind of caters to all the other businesses, our restaurants and are boutique shopping in that all experience together kind of works as one.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. So we’re living in a world where things are changing all the time that we can’t control. So kind of what’s something that maybe you’ve struggled with in Jacksonville? And how are you kind of moving through that to find a solution and counteract that?
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Yes, I think kind of coming out of the pandemic, we were really careful, I think going back, you know, back to 2020 20 and 21 a little bit, is we didn’t lose any of our businesses. You know, even though we are small mom and pop type stores, they kind of pivoted and change their, you know, marketing their services that they offer, so that they could still do business and still bring those customers in our lodging move to more long term rentals, and that kind of thing. So everyone did what they could do to pivot and still be able to provide services to guests. And, you know, it’s comparison to other national or even regional areas, we’re really proud of that fact that we’re able to support and continue the momentum with our businesses, we have changed some ownership. So it kind of brings a new light for a new breath of fresh air to the town as well, with some changes there. But overall, you know, it’s just gotten to support everyone together.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So you have not lost any businesses in Jacksonville during the pandemic?
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Yes, yes, we’re really proud of that died, there was a change of ownership, as I mentioned, but in terms of just not losing any, you know, closures, you know, window, you know, notices on the doors, that kind of thing, we’re, you know, able to avoid that.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] SI mean, it’s amazing, I think we could probably do like a whole nother slew of podcast episodes like around how you did that. I mean, Oregon, shut down pretty hardcore. I mean, I was living in Oregon during the pandemic. I don’t live there anymore. But I was living there during the pandemic, and Oregon shut down pretty hard. So I think that’s a true testament to how your community really pulled together and rallied. I think that that’s great. That’s amazing.
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Yeah, I definitely we are more on the conservative end in terms of being closures, as you mentioned, and so forth from that, you know, being cautious of everything going around us. But I think then looking at what they could do to change, you know, going more online, we were doing Google webinars for them to kind of get that momentum going, updating their math, updating their photos, that they had their information, their closure, opening dates, and we were doing a lot on our website to provide updated resources for them change their hours or operation, anything that we could do to support them, your social media, anything on the website as well, for people, you know, who weren’t physically here that they get that information before their arrival?
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And how do you feel like do you think that that almost pushed people to kind of make a little bit of a transition, like going long term? Like, how do you see that kind of swinging, because some of those things that you just mentioned, are important things for businesses to be doing on a regular basis. And maybe this kind of helped push them into that. And that is now helping your community to continue to grow and thrive. Now, as we kind of enter in this new phase of I mean, I want to say new phase of COVID. But just like, now, we come back open to real life and kind of get back into things. Do you think your businesses in your community are more ready to kind of continue to grow and scale and meet new challenges?
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] I think so they’re kind of making the right path. There are, you know, kind of old school models where they’re just used to there, you know, brick and mortar, here’s some paper, everything’s more physical, but moving into, pardon me moving into that online arena, they had didn’t even know their password for Google, or how to create a Facebook page or anything like that. So we’ve kind of worked to address those issues and realize and what their needs are, and to help with that have been some one on ones with businesses, to show them how to use some of the features of the social media platforms. And then we did, like I mentioned a whole webinar for the Google My Business and how to do that. And if you just do a little bit of a time, and update on monthly basis, it doesn’t become so overwhelming, but I think that’s why they’ve been prevented from them from doing it before is that they didn’t know where to start, it was just too much they had other things to do, which I completely understand from a small business perspective. And they weren’t didn’t have the employee or the manpower to do so. But teach us couple tech tips and tricks on how to do things, you know, kind of really goes a long way.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] I love that. So what would be kind of maybe one final tip that you have learned as an executive in a chamber, like that you would want to share to other chamber exec executives that you think might help them in their day to day business.
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] I really think something of just taking the time to go in and talk to the business owners, you know, go around the town, whether you’re big or large, even break it up and do something quarterly and do a couple businesses here and there by going and talking to them seeing what their needs are seeing what they’re doing, how you can support them. What What are they doing, what are their challenges, anything along those lines? I think the personal interaction is something we’ve missed, you know, that’s coming, you know, we don’t really have that as much anymore and having a personal interaction is really important and is really appreciated by business owners.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, just good old fashioned picking up the phone and have your conversation. Right?
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Right, right? Definitely. Yeah, take that, go get a cup of coffee, whatever it is take your take a walk around the block. And it really goes a long way and create that partnership too. So you can go ahead and call on that person, or, you know, to reach out to certain people as anything comes up in the future.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Mm hmm. Yep. I love that. I think we’ve missed that personal connection. And I think coming out of COVID, like really figuring out how to rebuild those relationships is critical. I mean, this is all amazing. And I really love just the historical aspect and like moving into new things, but still respecting kind of where we’re coming from and how to build on what our business owners need and thrive I think, credible. Amanda, if people are in the Jacksonville, Oregon area or moving to the area, or they’re thinking about how to start their business, they’re like, why would somebody want to join your chamber? And how do they find out more about you?
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Yes, our website is Jacksonville oregon.org. To start, we have a page for becoming a member all about our different experiences where you can do and the different thresholds or membership levels, it just being part of the community it’s you can really see it’s a give and take on where supporting you, you’re supporting us. And if you’re going to live and work here, it makes total sense to become a member of the chamber no matter where you live. We also are have a great social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. We’re at visit Jacksonville, Oregon on Instagram and on Facebook. It’s at Jacksonville, Oregon.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Awesome. And we’ll link all of that up in the show notes at nonprofit boot camp online.com forward slash podcast. Thank you, Amanda, so much for being a guest today.
[Amanda Patch-Oliver] Thank you. Thank you for having me. much. Appreciate it.
[Closing] Hey, thanks for listening to chats with chambers. For more information about the chamber featured in this episode or to check out show notes for links and resources. Visit nonprofitbootcamponline/podcast. Hey subscribe, give us a five star review if you liked what you heard and if you are a chamber would like to be a guest on this show. Hey, email us email@example.com Or firstname.lastname@example.org Links in the show notes
Jacksonville is a small town in Southern Oregon, around 3,000 in population. They are the Heart of Southern Oregon Wine Country! In the 1860s it was one of the towns that was going to have the railroad but that changed so got to keep their historic feel and look. The area is made up of all small businesses, there aren’t chain stores. They want to preserve it and keep it small and local.
The support they give their business is something Amanda’s most proud of. They all support each other in all things from marketing and however they can to share resources. The Chamber provides events that are geared towards bringing people into the stores for more traffic.
Jacksonville didn’t lose any of their businesses during COVID. They were able to pivot and still do business, just changed the way that they did business. They provided lots of resources to help businesses with their online presence and Google and help them serve their area and population. Just doing a little bit at a time and coaching businesses on other marketing tactics helped so it wasn’t too overwhelming.
Take time to go in and talk to business owners. You’ll learn more about what they’re doing, what their challenges are and how you can support them. Personal interaction is important and appreciated by members.
Questions We Asked
- What is the Jacksonville Chamber all about? [1:08]
- What are some wins? [3:4]
- What are challenges you face? [5:16]
- What is your tip and trick to pass on to other chambers? [9:17]
- How can you learn more about Jacksonville? [10:42]
Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce
Experience Jacksonville Oregon, dubbed “One of America’s Top 10 Coolest Small Towns” by Frommers! You are sure to fall in love with Jville the way so many others have before. From miles and miles of hiking trails to the undiscovered wineries of the Rogue Valley, it’s all about living the good life here in Southern Oregon! From great food and wine to live music performances year-round, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Jacksonville. Whether you want to kick back, relax and escape the real world or adventure in the great outdoors, start planning your trip today! Learn more at: https://jacksonvilleoregon.org/