Last week, a group of local organizations was granted $1.97 million from the federal CARES Act. The Spokane County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to award the funds to Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), the West Plains Chamber of Commerce, the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Spokane Partnership and Visit Spokane. The Inlander is partnering with that group to market and promote the businesses of Spokane County to local residents, and to help those businesses communicate how they are ready to serve customers even in these difficult times. Additional community-minded corporations and institutions have also partnered on the project to help support dining, shopping and entertainment in the coming months.
Having worked for more than 25 years helping connect local businesses with local consumers, the Inlander is in a unique position to help. Especially in the area of restaurants, we have been working closely with the food hospitality industry these past eight years on Inlander Restaurant Week, which wrapped up just days before the pandemic hit our region. Being so closely tied to the hospitality sector, it has been painful to see the impacts to so many of our friends, clients and neighbors. We started looking for ways to help, and we found that others were thinking the same thing, so this group came together.
This is an initiative of the Inlander’s advertising and marketing departments. It’s important to share with our readers that, although public funding is being brought to bear via this project to help Spokane County’s businesses, our editorial coverage remains independent from this initiative. The Inlander continues to cover the region’s recovery efforts in its news pages every week, often in “The Road Back” series, collected at inlander.com/recovery.
As we all look ahead and consider how we will navigate the coming months of uncertainty, one reality has set in: Commerce and safety must coexist. Our local businesses need our support, and our local citizens need food, goods and services. Through this effort, all of the partners will work to make those connections smoother, to communicate the care our businesses are taking to serve you and to help us all prove that right now, when we need it most, we can pull together and get through this to happier days ahead. We need to take care of ourselves, our families and each other.
For our part, we’ll coordinate with businesses across the county, connecting them with the support that exists among our partners and helping them share their individual messages. You’ll see weekly “Back To Business” stories in the Inlander, directing you on how to best support local businesses. We’ll amplify these messages through our partners, and on the internet and social media. As part of the program, we’ll develop new, recovery-focused publications that businesses can use to deliver their message directly. If you are a local business who would like to learn how you can participate, drop us an email at email@example.com. ♦
Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the publisher of the Inlander.