August 10, 2020

CEO Message: “When Can We Get Back Together?

The Chamber team was so excited this week to launch the 2020 Taste of Round Rock .

In a normal year, Taste of Round Rock is a one-day event that brings up to 1,000 people together to sample offerings from local food and beverage providers. It is a great event for the community and a great way for a business in food service to get in front of prospective customers. Of course, this is anything but a normal year. So, the 2020 Taste of Round Rock will be a digital eBook full of vouchers that you can use throughout all of September to visit area restaurants. *Yes – you can still be fully socially distant and still participate in the special offers. The value of the coupons in the book is over $125, making the investment of $25 to get one a great deal.

This change, and many others we have adopted this year, has also led many to ask, “When can we get back together?” I’m gratified that so many have expressed a desire to meet with their friends and colleagues, be in a place where they can make new contacts, and ask questions of the experts we make available.

My honest response to these inquires:

1) I don’t know.

2) When informed experts tell us it will be safe for our investors, staff, and the community at large.

At this time we don’t plan to have large, in-person activities available for the remainder of 2020. I would LOVE to find ourselves in a place where we can return to in-person activities before the year ends. However, it appears unlikely that we can do so.

Furthermore, we are very focused on the concerns of our community and businesses as the fall semester begins – and the difficult choices that students, teachers, parents, family members, and school boards must make. This fall just feels like the wrong time to begin bringing people back to face-to-face gatherings, even when done in a safe and responsible way.

I realize, many invest in our organization precisely because they want to connect with others in the community through our organization. For some, this is the value they expected and wanted from the Round Rock Chamber. If this is you, I can promise that we are VERY eager to return to a schedule of events that serves these needs. As much as online video conferencing tools like Zoom and Teams have enabled businesses to remain productive, it is clear they are no substitute for being present with others.

However, I would ask everyone in our community to remember, that the true value of the Chamber extends beyond the events and gatherings we organize. At our heart, we are an economic development generator for the community. Everything we do serves our mission to grow the economic activity that happens in Round Rock. This includes events, but also includes public policy advocacy, talent and workforce development, leadership programs, existing business assistance, and recruiting new businesses to locate in Round Rock. Our program has already assisted four businesses to invest in, and create jobs in, Round Rock this year. Particularly now, we have to maintain our greatest focus on aligning the resources within the community to encourage this critical business investment.

All of these initiatives will help ensure that our economy remains as strong as it can in these challenging times – and – when this painful season of separation finally ends, our community can emerge with speed and strength again.


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