• Message From The President

  • Without a doubt, 2020 has been one of the most disruptive years in recent history. All of us have had the rhythm of our lives impacted by COVID-19 in some measure, and some of us have had the effects of the virus reach much closer to home. As we enter the final quarter of the year, I believe there is merit in taking stock of what we can be thankful for: 

    Steinbach is made up of resilient people. This is something that I have always believed to be true. However, this year I witnessed this displayed consistently by our local business leaders and community at large as we have faced closures, supply interruptions, job losses and in some cases, the possibility of doors closing permanently. In reflecting on our experiences of the last six months, I am reminded of these lines penned by Alexandre Dumas in his book, “The Count of Monte Cristo.” He writes,

    “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next.”

    He goes on to write that what defines us is what we do when that storm comes. Our community has come together, supported each other, and is successfully weathering a storm that has impacted the entire globe. Perhaps the most encouraging part of the conversations I have had in recent months is that many of you assert that you will come out stronger on the other side of this storm.

    Steinbach is blessed with good leaders. During the first week of closure, I made several calls to local business owners to better understand the community perspective on the upcoming months. In most cases, the first comment I received back was concern regarding how they were going to take care of their employees with the doors closed.  In addition, our local/provincial government representatives continue to make the best decisions they can with the information that they have. Not an easy or simple task, we are fortunate on both counts to have leaders that are prioritizing the welfare of our people. 

    As a Chamber, our Board and Staff have also worked to meet the challenges of the year. We were able to quickly adapt our operations to allow us to provide both Chamber and EIS services virtually and/or within provincial guidelines. Our first priorities were support and recovery. Our first response goal was to focus on providing COVID related support to our members so that our members could focus on their businesses. We gave away many decal and signage packages, compiled resources on information, updates, and provincial and federal support. We engaged in weekly calls with the larger Chamber network, and provincial leaders to advocate for economic recovery. Our position was that public safety and economic recovery are not mutually exclusive and must be pursued simultaneously to reduce the overall strain on the community. Also, we have been working to provide our community with opportunities to reconnect through events like Steinbach Burger Days, and a community focused celebration of local business with this year’s Business Excellence Awards. 

    In closing, we have come a long way since March, we have much to be thankful for and we have reason to hope. 

    On behalf of the Chamber Board and Staff, it has been a privilege to serve you this year! If there is any additional way that the Chamber can support you in your journey, please let us know. We would love to connect with you. 

    All the best!

    Wayne Patram
    President
    Steinbach Chamber of Commerce