By Patricia Faulhaber, Suburbanite correspondent


HARTVILLE Lake Township Chamber of Commerce President Curtis Smith has been staying in touch with chamber members and other businesses to offer any assistance they may need during such a trying time the United States and other countries are experiencing.


“It’s important that all communities and all businesses look to their Chambers of Commerce and other organizations for guidance, we’re able to help point them in the right direction and provide them with a great deal of assistance,” Smith said earlier in April.


The Lake Township Chamber serves all of Hartville and parts of North Canton, Green, Greentown and Uniontown. There are currently 110 members composed of mostly small independently owned businesses, independent contractors, salespersons, finance professionals and some mid-size companies.


“At least 50 percent plus of our members have been greatly impacted by the shut down,” Smith said. “Some of had to transition their workforce to work remotely from their homes. Others who are open are using skeleton crews.”


Smith said he has been in direct contact with other Northeast Ohio chambers and that all of them are saying the same thing about their members, the biggest problems include finding the cash flow to meet payroll, moving their workforces to work remotely and accessing small business loans.


The Lake Township Chamber is helping from a couple of different fronts such as keeping businesses and the community informed as to what is changing each day and helping offering ways they can stay safe when engaging each other.


“We are also helping get the word out about which businesses are still open for curbside or delivery. Many of our food service businesses are doing online ordering and offering options for pickup or delivery. Many other members have moved to the digital platforms with employees working from home. Some are doing webinars and teleconferencing to help meet the needs of their clients,” Smith said.


One of the most helpful things happening Smith said is that businesses are reaching out to each other to help with issues such as IT and consulting. He said everyone in the community has been reaching out to each other.


“Everybody has stepped up to help each other and the Chamber is doing its best to help. Hartville’s tourism arm called Discover Hartville have also been working hard with everyone to keep things moving. There is a positive attitude when it comes to moving forward,” Smith said.


Digital advancements have opened the opportunities up for businesses and community to adapt quickly to issues such as the pandemic Smith added. Just five to 10 years ago, working remotely may have been more difficult. The costs may have been prohibited as well.


“With newer tools, such the Cloud, the cost of access today is lower than it would have been a few years ago. The convergence of newer technologies has helped us flourish even at time of a depressed state,” Smith said.


The Lake Township Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 330-877-5500 or online at www.lakechamber.com.