Navigating These Uncharted Waters
Jacksonville is an amazing, supportive community and we are going to get through this, together.
We are in completely uncharted territory. The recommendations and mandates have changed again… schools, stores, and events are to be shut down for at least another two weeks, and that may change again before it’s over. We are all in a strange sort of limbo and much of the future is unknown.
What I DO know – without a doubt – is that Jacksonville is an amazing, supportive community and we are going to get through this, together.
I also know that we need to support our local small businesses as much as we can, especially when this is over. You know the ones who step up every time they are asked to sponsor a team, support a fundraiser, supply a prize, or give a discount? Them.
The same ones who employ your friends and neighbors. They will need us, and we must be there in any way we can for them. Their survival depends on us more than ever before.
There are things we can do even when we cannot be around others or physically patronize businesses or meet with other people.
One way is to order goods online from local merchants. Many small businesses have made their products available via websites or Facebook. Check out the resource pages that have been listed on our website (wwwjacksonvillemainstreet.com) or social media and in virtual resources from our local media and community agencies. We are continuing to keep them updated regularly.
We can also reach out with texts, emails, phone calls, and messages to small business owners to see how we can help them through this time. (Already merchants have had friends and other businesses helping them clean and paint their facilities or feed those who are doing the work, and some have even provided free food to townsfolk… and it is a beautiful thing to see!)
Another thing we can do is plan.
Plan to be intentional. Think about what we say or post… is it really the truth? Is it really from a reliable source? Dispel the false rumors when you can.
Plan to eat in a locally-owned restaurant when the restrictions are lifted; plan to attend community events; plan to out dancing with friends in local clubs; and plan to thank those who worked so hard to see us through this emergency.
You know them: the health care workers, store employees, garbage collectors, internet and power company staff, pharmacists, first responders, reporters, delivery drivers, nursing home workers, and the people who produce all the products we need – like toilet paper. 😉
Also plan to show appreciation for the food service employees who have made us realize how much we love and miss their cooking. (Daily meal-prep is harder than many realized, and we are grateful that they can cook so well!)
Plan to go shopping and recognize the shopkeepers who assemble the latest styles for us to see and touch, try on, and wear the same day we buy them.
Especially plan to thank daycare workers and the teachers who daily educate and wrangle our children, who are our future – but can be challenging when you are used to being around adults all day.
If nothing else, this crisis drives home how much more important the role all these folks play in our daily lives than sports figures and movie stars.
In times like this, it is important to focus on the things for which we should be thankful… and all these people enrich our lives in immeasurable ways.
We can also plan not only for our individual futures, but for the future of our community.
Fill out the Census forms via mail or online… they have a tremendous impact on our town.
Donate to organizations that are working to improve the Jacksonville area and work hard to plan events for us.
Reach out and offer to help people who cannot get out to get their own goods and volunteer for local non-profits who are working to enhance our quality of life. And keep doing those things all year!
We need to support our local small businesses as much as we can, especially when this is over. You know the ones who step up every time they are asked to sponsor a team, support a fundraiser, supply a prize, or give a discount? Them.
Jacksonville Main Street still has an online survey linked to the website where you can offer your thoughts on downtown needs. This information will be incorporated into our strategic planning with the development of larger overarching goals for downtown that all our programs and projects will support.
Our website also has a full page of resources for businesses and links to other local, state, and national sites to help, both now and in the future. In addition to our Facebook posts, please share this information to help others.
You can also vote for Jacksonville Main Street in the America’s Main Street Contest (www.mainstreetcontest.com/profile/84). Winning this contest means $25,000 to help host the Downtown Concert Series and create another new mural this summer. It also means Jacksonville Main Street can keep working to help all 186 downtown businesses thrive and make the heart of our community even stronger.
Plan to do whatever you can to show everyone how we can take care of each other and just how great Jacksonville is!