A plea for city support of small businesses – An opinion

By Katy Dougherty
Tasty’s Fresh Burgers
June 11, 2020

I write on behalf of the small business owners of Fernandina Beach and Nassau County. I was surprised and dismayed to hear that the Chamber of Commerce, lobbying on behalf of us all, have been repeatedly denied assistance by the same government leaders charged with protecting us during COVID19.

Political platitudes are replete with talk of community. Who among us serves our community in the widest variety of ways? Who donates to our causes, charities, and fundraisers? Who chairs our ParentTeacher Associations, coaches our little league teams, and sponsors our schools? Who puts down their roots, risks everything that they have, and labors day and night to carve out a permanent spot for themselves in this community? Who defines the character of our city and county, making it a unique place to work, live and visit? Who rallies behind our first responders, giving back and showing appreciation in the little ways that they can? Who employs our citizens, adheres to our regulations and laws, and dutifully pays their taxes year in and year out? Who is the collective personality, the lifeblood, and in many ways the backbone of our community? Who are those who work the hardest, risk the biggest, and hope the most for the success and health of our community? We are from all walks of life, represent the vast diversity of our community, and all share the common spirit inherent to the American entrepreneurial dream. The answer to all these questions is the small business owner. Their success not only reaches the furthest to ensure the success of our community, they also are the least likely to ask for anything but a level playing field on which to do their best. The global pandemic will claim its casualties, as it already has. Some of us will fail. But, to preserve the thin fabric of faith in our leaders, we must know that what could have been done was indeed done. We must know in the aftermath that we came together, that our government worked more on our behalf than on its own preservation, and that in response to our humble requests, action was taken.

The silver lining to adversity is that it reveals our true character. There is certainly a time and a place for dreaming, for ideas, and for gracious talk. Empty words are a luxury enjoyed by some and endured by others in easy times. But, times of peril and uncertainty demand honesty and action. Now is a time for practical solutions to real challenges. There is much at stake. I expect from our elected, appointed and tenured leaders proactive measures to ensure our common welfare, not inadequate responses to cries for help. None of us expect that our government offer what is unreasonable to solve the whole of what our epidemic has engendered. My hope is simply that it does what it can. Perhaps some among our officials might reach out to our community to say, “We can’t fix everything, but we can fix this.” It’s not the miles ahead that make the journey seem so long; it’s the rocks in our shoes.


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Dave Lott
Dave Lott(@dave-l)
3 years ago

No question that small businesses are a vital part of the overall economy as well as the local economy of Fernandina Beach and Nassau County. The federal government’s PPP loan/grant program has been a lifeline to many small businesses. The federal unemployment supplement has been an aid to those that have lost their jobs. Perhaps, in many cases, too much of an aid as many employers with hourly workers are having difficulty bringing them back to work as they make more money from unemployment due to the supplement than they do if they work.

So what aid do you suggest the local governments offer – realizing that their revenue from sales and use tax is expected to decrease by 40 – 50% for the remainder of the fiscal year.? What are your “practical solutions”?

Nancy Bartmess
Nancy Bartmess (@guest_57849)
3 years ago

Please require masks in all retail stores, grocery stores and any place where the public enters. If every patron and shop worker had on a mask I as as a resident would venture in. Otherwise I won’t go.

thank you!

Penny Landregan
Penny Landregan (@guest_57854)
3 years ago

Well written Katy. In order for a business to survive during this pandemic, we all (customers and business owners) must help each other. I have seen so much of this during the last few months.

I believe we all have the power within us to overcome this horrific disease and we will prosper once again.

I believe we, I hope you do too. The best we can do is to keep supporting our local businesses by using their services or buying their products.