CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville businesses are withstanding the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic. But how will they move forward, and what are they asking from the city?
Charlottesville City Council has said economic recovery is a priority, so the city’s Office of Economic Development hosted a pair of panels with business owners to see how it’s been going, and what needs to be done.
Dozens of business owners from around the city shared their experiences during the pandemic on a Zoom call.
“We asked what was the most concerning to you at this moment,” said Chris Engel, the city’s director of economic development. “Far and away, customer traffic was the big issue - the loss of customer traffic. 80% of respondents indicated that was the largest challenge.”
Engel says they’ve learned a lot from that online survey of about 100 businesses, which will help his office craft a plan - a ‘Roadmap to Recovery.’
“One was advocating for financial support, grants, low-interest loans, things of that nature,” Engel said. “And we’ve had all of those in the past year.”
He says other things his office learned was that businesses want the office to “understand their particular programs” and help with “promotion and marketing.” That includes engaging the public when a business is offering services like curbside pick-up.
A follow-up session for business owners is set for April 1 with a final recovery plan estimated to be ready in May or June.