Letter to the editor

Help support local businesses through SOS campaign

Help support local businesses through SOS campaign

To the editor:

The coronavirus has not been kind to Bainbridge Island retailers, especially those on Winslow Way, which rely on tourism to boost revenues. Over the past several weeks, a number of businesses have either closed or re-focused their operations. The Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association co-hosted a feedback session in mid-July with business owners speaking to city councilmembers about their business status. The goal was to determine how we can help.

The conversation was revealing. Ana Orselli, owner of Mora, noted that they may not survive this fall without more business. Everyone was shocked, as Mora is considered an iconic Island business. Many businesses – particularly downtown – rely on visitors from April through September to help them survive during fall and winter. This year, the tourist season has been significantly diminished as cruises, conventions and international travel has all but stopped.

So the question to locals is: What do our many restaurants, retail stores, specialty shops and myriad other businesses throughout Bainbridge mean to you? In what ways do they enrich your life – and what will you be missing if these businesses suddenly close or severely reduce their operations, as many already have?

To many new and long-time islanders, our businesses represent the places and moments that, woven together, define what it means to live in this special place. From your child’s first haircut, to quilters meeting at the fabric store, to groups holding meetings at our coffee shops and restaurants – these moments matter.

The Chamber and Downtown Association want locals to know the severity of the situation, as expressed by business owners – who also happen to be their neighbors and friends. Toward this end, BIDA and BICC are launching a Save Our Stores & Businesses (SOS) campaign to provide awareness of what our businesses offer and to encourage residents to support them.

How can you help? Visit www.sosbainbridgeisland.com. When you support local businesses, you keep dollars in our economy, help create local jobs and nurture community. Our businesses are Safe – Open – and Welcome your visit. There are many wonderful items to be found and experiences to be had – provided with care and personalization – something we need now more than ever.

Thanks for your support,

Kevin Dwyer

president/CEO, chamber

and Jerri Lane

executive director, downtown association