Retailers are counting down the days until the State reopens to get consumers back shopping at their stores and Retail Alliance has been making sure they have the resources, guidelines, and support they need to refocus, reopen and rebound.
No matter whether they remained open, partially closed, reduced their hours, or shut their doors completely, retailers and other small business owners across Hampton Roads and the whole country are fighting to keep afloat.
Although we are a non-profit member association that relies on membership dues, we knew that when Coronavirus struck, our overarching responsibility was to the whole retail community to make sure that all retail survives this crisis, not just our members.
Our educational workshops and webinars, Coronavirus briefings, and much more, have been opened up to non-members to support this goal. We know that retail’s strength, tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit is what will help them survive this crisis.
They have absorbed, extracted and acted on all the knowledge we are providing right now to be able to adapt their operations to endure this crisis, with the aim of reopening their businesses as soon as they possibly can.
Retail Alliance’s plan is to help Retail Refocus, Rebuild & Reopen 757. We are doing this through a variety of initiatives aimed at informing, educating and supporting our members and the wider small business community:
- Reopen 757. The State has provided Retail Alliance with face masks to distribute to retailers throughout the region to protect themselves and their employees as we reopen 757. These are available now (maximum 25). Pickup details click here.
- Reopen 757 Retail Briefings on legislative actions, financial support updates, and guidance to retailers and small businesses as they seek to reopen. We invite our legislative advocates and SMEs on the calls to answer any questions.
- Free access to recorded and live STRIVE Workshop webinars on marketing, advertising, and other retail-focused topics.
- Retail Relief Webinars providing advice to help get through this stressful period, both on a personal and professional level. Example webinars have included Inventory Management, Selling Online When Your Doors are Shut, Self-Care Practices to Reduce Stress, Retailer Panels, Cash Flow.
- Coronavirus Retail Resource website portal with the latest Federal and State legislative updates, financial assistance options, webinars, and other resources. Click here.
- Regular Coronavirus Retail Updates via email newsletters and social media (sign up at bottom of page)
- Legislative representation. Our lobbying arm, Virginia Retail Federation (VRF), continues to be the voice of retail and has been in constant communication with the administration about the best way to re-open for the retail industry and will continue those conversations, along with guidance and guidelines for retailers, as we move forward with this process.
- COVID-19 Business Task Force Representation. Jenny Crittenden, our Retail Alliance Board member, and Executive Director of Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust has been appointed to the Task Force representing main street businesses and retailers throughout our region. The task force will provide advice and guidance to the Cabinet on a safe, responsible strategy for easing restrictions on businesses and individuals.
- Member Relations Advisors supporting our members through email, Zoom and phone calls and will be back out there as soon as they can.
- Certificate in Retail Operations. As a result of this pandemic, we have moved our next Certificate in Retail Operations purely online, commencing June 1. The Certificate strives to fill the competency gap in retail operations, equipping participants with the education and skills to overcome the challenges inherent in starting or advancing their careers in the retail industry, especially following a crisis such as this. This 14-week program is broken up into seven topic areas (2 weeks in length) – Startup, Retail Accounting, Marketing and Advertising, Merchandising and Inventory Management, HR Management, LP and Security, and Business Planning. Classes can be taken individually or as a course of study. Scholarships are available. For details click here.
- Membership Dues relief plan. Renewal dates have been moved forward 4 months. We want our members to focus their attention and resources fully on their business during this time.
- Retail Is podcasts interview members and guests on how they are coping and adapting to this crisis and what they see for the future of their business and the retail industry. These are posted here and available on iTunes and Play Store.
- Retail Think Tanks (Peer Exchange Groups) are held quarterly on Southside and Peninsula for confidential in-depth discussions between business owners to ask and offer advice to help themselves and their peers.
- LOVEVA Buy Local App has been providing consumers a way to find and be rewarded for shopping at local businesses with links to their social media providing the latest information on restaurant and store openings.
All briefings, webinars and workshop recordings are archived and accessible to the public for a short time through our Retail Alliance YouTube channel.