Issues & Insights: #REIMAGINING Thunder Bay

Charla Robinson, President - Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce
May 19, 2020

This sucks! There, I said it. COVID-19 has disrupted our daily lives in ways that few of us would have imagined just six shorts months ago: schools without students, businesses without customers, society without socialization, and worst of all, hurt without hugs. Many of us have felt sadness and frustration over all that we have missed during our isolation period.

There is light at the end of the tunnel with the reopening of workplaces and our favourite public spaces, yet we know that our daily activities will be somewhat different in the months ahead. I’m a strong believer in the adage ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ and have sometimes needed to adjust my outlook to remember that ‘change brings opportunity’. Never have these maxims been more appropriate.

For me, the question is, “What are we going to do with this opportunity?” We can kick and scream against these changing realities in a fight to save the ways we’ve always done it; or we can step back to look at ourselves, our businesses and our community for new ideas that will make us better. This is our chance to #REIMAGINE Thunder Bay.

There are already many businesses that are reimagining themselves. Manufacturers channelling their efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 by producing hand sanitizer and face masks; eateries developing contactless take-out options to continue serving their customers; grocers and retailers moving to online sales and local delivery services; and caterers bringing hot meals and variety to shut-in families all over the city.  Reimagining themselves has allowed these entrepreneurs to continue serving their customers and find ways to keep their staff working.

We can use these positive examples as inspiration to harness the power of our own imaginations. COVID-19 is forcing us to think and act differently. Let’s take the lessons we have learned and apply them to build back better in our businesses and our neighbourhoods.

Over the coming weeks, the Chamber and partnering organizations will be facilitating dialogue among business owners and the community to help us #REIMAGINE TBay. Help us spread the conversation by sharing your ideas and observations on Facebook and Instagram using #ReimagineTBay.

The Chamber is here to help you! Stay tuned for more online resources and seminars and call us with any questions at 624-2620.

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