Kory Hooks

Greetings, Chamber!

Before you begin reading, there are a few rules you must follow:

1. Health regulations require you to be at least 6 feet away from your monitor.
2. Wipe down your desk.
3. Lysol your chair and work space.
4. Disinfect your keyboard and mouse.
5. Once you begin reading, you must shelter in place. (Has anyone ever heard that term before now?)

In the midst of me sitting down to write this, my kids appeared, looking for something to do. (After all, everything is closed and they’re bored!) My oldest son and his friend were being followed by my youngest, who desperately wanted to join the pack. I heard him ask, “Want to play air soft guns?” Much to my surprise, the other boys agreed. Off they went to gather their gear and headed to the backyard. I watched out the window as they discussed boundaries and such then my youngest appeared back inside, on a mission to find something. I heard the door open and close as he returned in a rush (I know all the parents out there can hear the very familiar sound as you read this). Suddenly, I heard what sounded like a set of maracas hitting the ground. My son immediately exclaimed, “Oh!” I knew instantly what had happened! On his hurried way through the house, he dropped the plastic container that held 10,000 air soft pellets! Fortunately, only about 1,000 or so escaped, hitting the wood floors and rolling on their merry way! I slowly turned to find them everywhere! It was a complete mess!

Prior to the air soft gun decision, everything was going great. The kitchen was picked up, the house was clean, and all was somewhat under control. I guess you could say our house was in order. Then, in the blink of an eye, everything changed. He looked at me, then looked at the ground, and asked how he could possibly clean up this mess. We discussed a few options and he began slowly gathering the pellets. The other boys, finally realizing he wasn’t coming back outside, came in to check on him. They noticed the mess, laughed, and started to help clean up. (Okay, I made that part up, we all know the older kids didn’t help.) But imagine if they had!

Look at where your business is today. Your business was kind of like my house, it was seemingly in order. You understood your business plan, your market and the economy. You had supply and demand figured out and you even had toilet paper! Then, and almost just as fast, the air soft pellets fell and scattered everywhere. So much so that you aren’t sure how to begin gathering them or if they have even finished scattering. Isn’t that what is happening to us? We didn’t create this mess, we didn’t choose to halt our business and yet, we are forced to pick up the pieces and get things back in order. Much like the huge task my son was facing, it gets easier when you have support. That’s where the Chamber comes in!

Working together is key. COVID 19 has changed humanity in unspeakable ways. It has created fear in many and awakened a fight or flight sense in others. The multitudes have become concerned with their own well being and thought less about the needs of others. This is evident in the sudden need to hoard everything and the mindset of looking out for number one. Fight or flight isn’t always a negative thing but it does have a way of removing rationality. Jesus gave us one major command, to love one another as we love ourselves. Is this what you hear, see or feel when you find empty shelves in the supermarket or when someone sneezes or coughs in your general direction? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you should run over and offer them your sleeve to sneeze in but I am suggesting we do what Jesus commanded – love and serve one another. That is the answer!

I know what you’re thinking, “What does this have to do with the Chamber?” As Chamber members, we emphasize the importance of shopping local and keeping business in our community. Trust me, trunk tags on cars tell me if folks are shopping local. We can’t depend on people from outside markets to help when times get tough so we must rely on each other. When we stray to other markets for needs that can be met locally, our core loses its strength. I urge you and your team members to support our local businesses that are struggling during this pandemic. For instance, our restaurants need support. If we want the luxury of enjoying their great service during the good times, then we need to support them even more during the turbulent times. Be intentional about buying here, send flowers, find a gift, look for a new digital approach for your business. If we link arms and stand together we can pick up the multitude of air soft pellets much sooner than you think!

God bless,
Kory Hooks
Chamber Board President