Providing meaningful jobs and keeping money close to home, small businesses are the pulse of a community. In today’s world, Winthrop’s entrepreneurs are leaning on one another as they navigate their way through the current situation while fighting for the survival of their livelihood.
When Winthrop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Betsy Shane found out that local business owners were struggling as a result of the pandemic, she stepped in and learned everything she could about the various loans available to small businesses.
“These are really tough times, and there is incredible pressure on businesses, both open and closed,” said Shane. “When the CARES Act came out, I felt that it was my job to educate myself so I could help our business owners.”
Winthrop is home to both new and old small businesses that serve the residents and create a sense of community.
Owner of Just Ink Tattoo, Justin Kopec, relied on Shane’s help when he was trying to figure out which loans he was able to apply for.
“When I first realized that I could apply for assistance, I had no idea what I’d qualify for or what would suit my business best,” said Kopec, who operates the shop with one apprentice. “I had a ton of questions and the chamber had all the answers and knew the language of the different bills.”
Located on 41 Putnam Street, Suite E, Just Ink Tattoo has been in business since June 2018, and a Chamber member since July 2018. While he is anxious to get the shop running again, Kopec is okay with doing it safely and slowly and already has ideas in place for how he will open his doors. Kopec plans to have six feet zones, designated places for people to wait and customers will be required to wash hands and wear masks.
“People are just trying to run their flower shops and grocery stores, and figure out how they are going to survive,” said Shane, who has been on the phone with business owners every day. “As the Chamber, it’s our job to help them navigate through this.”
Alongside her colleagues, Ann Ward and Amanda Pelletier, Shane has made it her mission to serve the town’s business owners and she has been conducting research and updating Chamber members nonstop. Her process involves checking in with the business owner, educating them on available assistance, and following up to see if they’ve gotten their money.
Owner of Scott’s Auto, Scott MacElree has collaborated with the chamber to come up with creative ideas to keep business going and safely provide service to customers. MacElree offers a pickup and delivery option for customers, where no face-to-face contact is required.
“We disinfect the keys, steering wheel, and complete payment via phone, so the customer never has to come into contact with us.”
MacElree has been on the receiving end of the chamber’s expertise.
“The chamber helped me get information, hooked me up with a lender, and since then I’ve gotten approved.”
Over 3,000 emails have been sent between Shane and business owners, along with a string of updates on the Chamber’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
“The financial consequences alone can create major emotional trauma,” said Shane. “It came on so fast but we are here to help and people have been so thankful and grateful.”
If you are a business owner, needing assistance, you may contact the chamber at:
Or check them out online at:
The Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is a wide selection of businesspeople working in conjunction with the Town’s elected and appointed officials. Its goal is to foster the economic enhancement of Winthrop’s businesses and business districts so as to maintain long-term economic vitality and growth.