Commentary: Cordova businesses rise to the challenge

First Street. (Dec. 18, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

At the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, we have felt encouraged to see so many Cordova businesses rise to a challenge we put out at the beginning of this pandemic, to find ways to Come Back Better. As we welcome a new year, we’d like to acknowledge some great examples of creativity, ingenuity and resilience in Cordova’s business community.

  1. Rethinking – Businesses who added personal shopping, delivery and/or curbside pickup for those in quarantine and of higher risk really bolstered the community’s mitigation efforts. Doing this as a free service, as many Cordova businesses did, was especially commendable. Engaging virtual festivals like the Virtual Shorebird Festival, Jammin’ SalmONLINE, and Girdova Fungus Fest highlighted the resourcefulness and spirit of this community while providing a necessary distraction and avenue for stress relief. We also commend Cordova‘s seafood processors for creating Safety and Mitigation Plans of such form and function that they were assumed as templates for the entire state.
  1. Rebuilding – We were happy to help The Little Cordova Bakery celebrate its five-year anniversary with a COVID-safe event that was not only fun but also a great way to enhance their connection with their customers. We all win when local businesses partner to provide more for their customers, like the collaboration of Kale’n Thyme with Nichols’ Front Door, The Powder House, and Harborside Pizza. And kudos to all of Cordova’s restaurants that reopened and stepped up to offer variations of take-out and distanced indoor dining, as well as lodging providers like the Reluctant Fisherman and Prince William Motel which provided comfortable accommodations to those in quarantine. A big round of applause for Ace Hardware for their Enter With Confidence guarantee and new sanitation product lines and Alaska Airlines for their Next Level Care program, keeping Cordova safely connected. Way to go!
  1. Reopening – We want to congratulate all the Cordova businesses that found safe and creative ways to continue to offer their products and services this year — that alone was no small task. Special accolades go out to those that were not only able to reopen but to expand their product and service lines this year, including Alaska Glacial Essentials (who launched a whole new line of skincare products in addition to their famous mud masks), Kayak Cafe (now offering lunch and artisan wares in addition to teas, coffee drinks and pastries) and Seaside Salon (now offering women’s clothing in addition to hair services and wellness products). It was also exciting to see a business develop and implement a new tool that will provide value to the customer and equity to the business even post-COVID, like AC Value Center’s new online ordering system. Cheers to you!
  1. Recovering – We share our deepest gratitude with the City of Cordova’s Emergency Management Team and Cordova’s dedicated healthcare workers. Without their hard work and diligence, we may not have made it through this pandemic. Of special note is the success of two recovery programs we were happy to participate in: the city’s Cordova Cash economic stimulus which is bringing over $1 million of relief to both citizens and local businesses; and the PWS Business SMART group — a partnership of several regional organizations including the PWS Economic Development District, Cordova Chamber, CDFU and others formed to educate and connect businesses and individuals with essential COVID relief and resources. Due in large part to their efforts, almost $12 million was awarded in AK CARES grants alone to over 230 Cordova businesses. Congratulations!

These are just a few examples of businesses blossoming in adversity and embodying the ideals of our Come Back Better campaign.

Join us at our annual meeting 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23, where we will honor several businesses in different categories, including the Come Back Better Award. The event will be held virtually and, in addition to the 2021 Outstanding in Business Awards, Chamber Challenge Trivia game, Board of Directors election results, and Annual Report, and announcements for exciting new programs in 2021. RSVP at cordovachamber.com/annual-meeting, 907-424-7260, or info@cordovachamber.com for the Zoom invite link.