Beaufort Today -

Chamber helps businesses weather the storms

The Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce has helped businesses weather storms before and Hurricane Irma is no different.

As the storm began to warrant evacuations of the barriers islands in Beaufort County on Sept. 8, some businesses decided to close doors or limit hours until the storm passed. When businesses close, the chamber is there to help them as much as they can.

“Besides the obvious loss of revenue, (possible) destruction of physical location, and flooding, what we are seeing with Irma is that their employees have evacuated the area leaving some businesses, especially hospitality businesses, short staffed,” Robb Wells, Vice President/Tourism Division of the Beaufort Regional Chamber said Saturday.

According to what the weather brings, in this case a hurricane, the chamber plays various roles in helping businesses return to normal operations, Wells said.

“The previous two years, we assisted with re-entry communication, partnering businesses with other service businesses to accomplish what repairs needed to be done,” he said. “Last year, after the all clear was given following Hurricane Matthew, the chamber initiated an advertising plan with the intent of letting both visitors and locals know that Beaufort was open for business.”

There were lessons learned following Hurricane Matthew that Wells said would help the chamber and businesses to move forward following any type of closure due to the weather. Communication remains the key component.

“Consistent communication between county emergency management officials and our businesses will always be paramount during and following any major storm,” Wells said. “If Matthew taught us anything, it would be that people will get information from many sources and our role is to disseminate information that is correct and in line with emergency officials.”

While businesses are closing due to the impending storm, the chamber has also postponed the following events. The State of the Schools event, originally scheduled for today, Wednesday, Sept. 13, and the Health and Wellness Expo/Business After Hours, originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 14, have both been postponed due to the storm.