Oct 10 2020

Helping Local Business Through Innovation


We hear the adage “Shop Local” quite often and it’s one that we have championed since our founding over 150 years ago, as a group of business leaders working to bring rail service to the newly formed community of Lincoln. With railroad service to Lincoln, local businesses began to pop up and have continued to shape our city ever since.

As challenges continue for our local businesses throughout the pandemic, we often ask ourselves how we can help them remain vibrant parts of our community. The Lincoln Chamber and our partners continue to support local business through a variety of ways, with ongoing efforts to identify additional means to help them succeed. 

This summer, I was honored to serve on the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force and as a member of the Local Business Strategies sub-committee. As a team, we explored and identified opportunities to support our local economy and the businesses within.  Our path to economic recovery is a long one, but it is important for each one of us to remember that we all play a vital role in recovery efforts. 

As outlined in the full Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force Report, in order to continue to grow our economy, we must be strategic in our support of local businesses, small businesses and women-and minority-owned business enterprises (WMBE) within our city. As a committee, we are challenging all Lincoln business leaders to allocate an additional 1% of annual spending to support local, small and WMBE businesses. But the commitment does not end there, as all Lincoln residents are urged to be intentional in their efforts to shop local.   

I also encourage you to continue supporting our hospitality partners and the tourism industry as a part of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau’s ‘Get a Room’ campaign. The ‘Get a Room’ campaign urges people to stay at our hotels and make it a night, weekend or longer in Lincoln. Perhaps it’s a date night, a quick road trip to Lincoln for the weekend or a staycation with the family—getting a room at one of our local hotels across the city has never been easier.

Beginning in October, Chamber members now have the opportunity to further distinguish their businesses as minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned and locally-owned. As Lincoln business leaders and community members continue identifying opportunities to support our local economy, we are hoping to streamline the process as much as possible. 

As the year comes to a close and going forward into 2021 and beyond, all Lincolnites will be able to access a list of businesses that fall into several different categories, in turn making it much easier for everyone to shop local. 

I am proud of the work we are doing to support local businesses in 2020 and the ability to think of new and creative solutions to a problem we haven’t faced in quite some time. There remains much work to be done but with your help, we can ensure local businesses remain as the backbone to our community.

-Wendy Birdsall, CCE, IOM
President, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce