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Chamber Launches Program to Pay Late Utilities, Award Annual Memberships and Meet with its Members

Written by The Bee

January 26, 2021

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Bullhead City, AZ – The Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce has commenced Operation Business Care – a multi-pronged approach to help area businesses recover.  It is looking to help more than 25 local businesses with past due power and gas bills. Thanks to a $40,000 grant from the State of Arizona and the AZ Commerce Authority, the nonprofit is accepting applications from area businesses who got behind in their MEC and Southwest gas bills due to the impacts of Covid pandemic. 

The application to apply for utility assistance, due no later than February 15th, is on the main page of Chamber’s website at www.bullheadareachamber.com. The Chamber has established a five-member committee to help sort through applications and pay up to $1,000 in past bills for those who were not perpetually behind in their bills before the first quarter of last year and for those who can explain how the help will provide stability. The assistance is private. Those who receive help will not be made public and the funds will be provided directly to the utilities.  

Because the funding is public, the Chamber is opening applications to all area businesses in Mohave Valley, Fort Mohave and Bullhead City – not just Chamber members.

The organization will also be awarding approximately 50, one-year Chamber membership to businesses that can benefit from the increased exposure, referrals and connections that come with Chamber participation. This part of the grant is also open to all area businesses, but the Chamber expects to also assist members who have fallen behind in dues. 

Identifying how to continue to better serve members and the communities with relevant programs in the next year is the goal of one-on-one membership meetings, already underway. 

“We have had to change our program of work this year and spent time finding, investigating and sharing free, tangible programs aimed at helping with recovery,” said Executive Director JoElle Hurns. “Although we have gone through some of the same negative impacts on our organization, we cannot fully appreciate what the various 550 plus members need and what they continue to go through.”

Hurns said membership increases business to business relationships, heightens exposure and advertising printed materials, in the Chamber and Visitors Center offices and on its social media platforms. The Chamber serves as a business and economic development advocate. In recent months, it has connected members to resources and guidance offered by Mohave Community College and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

With the help of staff, the members of our Board of Directors and some Ambassadors, members will be asked some very frank questions about the Chamber’s performance and discuss how businesses can use the benefits of the Chamber more fully.

The five-member committee, set to help the Chamber award grant dollars and membership scholarships, represent finance, economic development, media, the Small Business Development Center and SCORE. The Chamber has not announced the names of the committee members to try to head off any lobbying until the awards are made at the end of February.

The grant dollars came from the Arizona Crises Contingency and Safety Net Fund. The goal of the $1 million competitive process is to provide funding to local Chambers of Commerce to help implement or expand programs that will accelerate the local recovery. Several grants have recently been announced by the AZ Commerce Authority to engage restaurant owners directly – they are able to secure up to $10,000 to create or upgrade outdoor dining. With the assistance of the AZCA and the Small Business Development Center at MCC, help with applying for new federal aid or becoming educated through free program that there are ways to “return stronger.” 

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