It is a unique situation, indeed, when you are asked to be on the ground floor of a project where there is not even a floor, but that is intended. The Northeast Kingdom Chamber just started a Facebook page, in the spirit of our annual Business Celebration, that will allow every business in the Kingdom to pronounce and announce their accomplishments, startups, events and good news. It is called the Northeast Kingdom Business Forum.

It was back in my first year of the chamber when our board made the momentous decision to establish the Business Celebration. We were in the midst of what now feels like a mild recession and thought it would be cathartic and even healing for our region to know there was growth in the most difficult of times, sort of like the feeling we all get when we see spring flowers pop up from hard soil after a long and harsh winter.

That Business Celebration continues to this day. In fact, it was the last event the chamber held, last Feb. 27th, just before the world closed down due to Covid-19. Since then, we have tried mightily to get the word out on local businesses and their achievements on our NEK Covid-19 Alerts Facebook page, with the assistance of other chambers throughout the Kingdom, but now is the time to devote a page entirely devoted to businesses to proclaim their accomplishments from our highest hills.

Some of you may wonder why we would promote businesses that are not chamber members, isn’t that one of your organization’s benefits, but the truth is that we have promoted companies from all over the tri-county area through our Business Celebration for years, admittedly giving our members a thankful and extra nod in all the efforts and events we promote and do. When you have “Northeast Kingdom” in your name, you feel an extra responsibility to strengthen the entire region.

We feel it is important after such a harrowing and difficult time to celebrate these achievements in a different way, as we have endured the biggest challenge of our time with this pandemic. It has affected our collective health and economic well-being and, frankly, as we come out from underneath this storm cloud, it is all the more reason to celebrate such glad tidings.

It is a trite but true statement to admit that the tide, even in our landlocked state, rises all boats, and that is the objective of the Northeast Kingdom Business Forum page. We hope it will send a strong message inside and outside our borders that there is activity and growth in our region and will encourage more businesses to open their companies here. We may be biased, but we offer so much more than other areas.

Just so you know our web site, nekchamber.com, will still promote everyone’s events, business forums and trainings, but this is admittedly different. We are still in the page’s infancy, in fact, and need your help to get it off the ground. This is the first time we have even announced this initiative and, frankly, the page is still bare, but, rest assured, we will be posting your photos, posts and many business achievements in the weeks and months ahead. Please pass and post your news on the page so we can share it, far and wide.

I promised you in recent columns there would be changes in what we do, due to the havoc the pandemic has wreaked on our Kingdom, and today’s Business Section proves that very point. Thank you to the Business Watch’s Barbara Hatch for announcing our office move and this new Facebook page is yet another example of our efforts to keep our Kingdom confident and strong. One of our members said it best, at the beginning of the outbreak, that our chamber would be needed more than ever when this was all over, and we want that person to know, as well as the area, that we heard her loud and clear.

Darcie McCann is the executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce.

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