The Fayette County Chamber of Commerce recently announced the cancellation of the 2020 Toast to Summer and also asked for support to help its members impacted by the Ohio COVID-19 stay at home order.
“Toast to Summer is a joint venture between the Fayette County Pilots & Friends Association and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce,” Bolender said on Friday. “It was after much discussion that it was decided it was in the best interest of not only our vendors and volunteers, but the guests as well, that we cancel it. A lot of the vendors, wineries and such have also been impacted by the stay at home orders and I don’t think it was a surprise that we were going to have to cancel. (These wineries and vendors) have said that many of the events they have scheduled for have been canceled as well.”
In the meantime, Bolender explained the two groups are looking to 2021 to plan a great festival when they return next summer.
Bolender then took time to talk about a recent Chamber of Commerce initiative — thanks to a donation from Tony’s Welding and Fabrication and Quali-Tee Designs — to help small businesses impacted when communities were asked to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19 by Governor Mike DeWine.
“Through the generosity of Tony’s Welding and Fabrication and Quali-Tee Designs, we have begun a small business grant fund,” Bolender said. “These grants are available to any Fayette County Chamber member with 10 or fewer employees adversely affected by the stay at home order.”
In an effort to try and further the grant, the Chamber of Commerce has opened an online sale on a number of items, including different t-shirts, mugs and even a reusable shopping tote that will benefit their small business members. These items are available for purchase online at https://shop.qualiteedesign.com/fayette_county_focus_forward/shop/home.
Bolender said those who may be unable to or may feel uncomfortable shopping online can also come into the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Washington Court House (206 E. Court St.) where she will take their order.
“This is exciting. Several months ago Tony and Heather Penwell came to me and they wanted to do something to give back to the smaller businesses that had to shutdown during the crisis. So they ran a special in their welding shop and all of the proceeds from that special have been donated to this grant fund. We are going to take that donation, along with 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the ‘Fayette County Focus Forward’ items available online, and we are going to divide that amongst the Chamber businesses that are actively participating in the grant program. They will all get an equal share and it’s a wonderful way for us to give back to our members who give so much to our community.”
Bolender said the program ends on June 30, and encouraged everyone to place their orders by midnight on that day for it to benefit the small businesses. For any questions or if, as a small business owner, they would like to receive a grant, please give the office a call at (740) 335-0761 to learn more about the process.
The information in this article was provided by Fayette County Chamber of Commerce President Julie Bolender.
Reach Martin Graham on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.