10% Discount for Chamber Members and their Families. Please contact Chris Motz at wmotz@purdueglobal.edu

Your friends at the Chamber hope you and your families are staying healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic. We know that everyone has been impacted by this health and economic crisis, and we hope you are getting the healing and economic support you need at this time.

The last few weeks have been difficult for everyone in our community. The staff members at your Chamber have been working with our many community partners to help business owners and their employees navigate the economic resources available at the local, state, and federal level. This includes the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and the enhanced Unemployment Insurance program. We hope you have completed all of the associated application processes – if not, please contact me at paul@hagerstown.org or on my cell phone, 301-514-5738, so I can be of assistance to you. We continue to monitor all that is happening as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic, including participating in webinars that help us to decipher the programs that could be of assistance to all those in need.

As our country and community slowly returns to health, we are working with our partners to develop a plan that will allow Washington County to return to work. Just as soon as it safe to do so, we must open businesses up again and get everyone back to work. Please contact me if you have suggestions and ideas around our “Roadmap to Reopening and Recovery.” Together, we can and will create a successful path forward.

In the meantime, follow all of the recommended safety precautions and take care of your own mental health. This includes some downtime away from the electronic world (email, cell phone, and social media) and daily exercise. We all need to be ready to go when the time comes to “get back to work.”

Thank each of you for all you are doing on behalf of the citizens of Washington County.

Strong Together.

Paul Frey
President & CEO
Washington County Chamber of Commerce
Since the beginning of this pandemic, Your Chamber has pledged to keep not just our membership, but the community current on what matters to them most. Health, Maryland business resources, Washington County updates and resources, Restaurants still offering carry-out and delivery, job avail-abilities, and more. Information is coming in, and changing, quite literally around the clock and we felt it was best to establish a go-to source, www.hagerstown.org/strongtogether. Please click the links below to explore our different break-out pages, and please let us know if you have ANY questions about anything. Additionally, if you have information you would like to contribute, please email Director of Member Services Tim Luipersbeck at tim@hagerstown.org to be added to our website in this important capacity!
Give a warm welcome to our April additions!
Baer Express Tours
14003 Maugansville Rd.
Maugansville, MD

DH Web, Inc.
11377 Robinwood Dr., Ste. D
Hagerstown, MD

One Room Media
22 N. Mulberry St.
Hagerstown, MD

Salsa Mama
20 Public Square 
Hagerstown, MD
In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus, we're still cooperating with Governor Hogan's Executive Orders to shut down all non-essential businesses and organizations, we here at the Chamber have made the decision to continue postponing all future in-person events. We're continuing to delve into online webinars and hope that you'll join us when your unpredictable schedules permit.

Additionally, the upcoming Teacher of the Year Awards slated for later this month has been postponed. We're in the process of thinking about more ways to move forward with this celebration with our partners at Washington County Public Schools. Stay tuned as details continue to emerge over the coming weeks.

Our offices remain closed. However, operations will remain in nearly-full swing from Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm. All Chamber employees will be working remotely from home and will remain accessible via email. Voicemails will be checked periodically. Please visit  www.hagerstown.org/our-team  for a list of staff members and their email addresses and phone numbers.

Since our office will remain closed until we're told we're able to re-open, Certificates of Origin will not be able to be processed. Additionally, all committee meetings will either be cancelled or arranged for teleconferencing.

To provide our members with the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 coronavirus and the ways in which small businesses, nonprofits, and like organizations can benefit through Maryland state and federal programs, please visit our homepage, or our custom response page  www.hagerstown.org/strongtogether .

We look forward to seeing you in-person soon, but want to reassure you that we are here for you through every step of this phase. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us and let us know how we can help you!
Thursday, April 16th, 9-10am
Leadershift Roundtable with Morgan Plummer
Join Morgan Plummer as she hosts a special edition of our Leadershift Roundtable event via Zoom. Turn adversity into advantage by learning to lead through crisis. This event is for Chamber members only, with required registration.
Tuesday, April 21st, 9-10am
One More Customer with Eddie Peters
Join Eddie Peters for his popular monthly event, held webinar-style, via Zoom. This event features a previously-recorded webcast from NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, "One More Customer". This month's topic will address "Learning Business Through Life Experiences". Open to Chamber members and non-members alike, registration is required.
Thursday, May 7th, 9-10am
Virtual Maximize Your Membership:
"How Chamber Membership Can Help Through Crisis"
Join Director of Member Services Tim Luipersbeck and Membership Development Manager Kai Johnson for a virtual version of Maximize Your Membership. This presentation is different than our usual monthly event, re-structured to highlight ways the Chamber is working for our members through the COVID-19 pandemic. We're working harder than ever for our business and non-profit community. We want to continue reassuring you of that! 
Browse through just some of our members who've announced changes within their organization and even some able to help you during this critical time.
Do you have something you're able to offer to our members for help? Whether its complimentary consultation, discounted services, or anything else, please email Director of Member Services Tim Luipersbeck at tim@hagerstown.org to let him know. The link below, "Members Here to Help" is a living page that is being updated constantly. Below are just a few examples, along with COVID-19 related announcements. There are, frankly, too many to list, so we pledge to add whatever "fits" to this page below, which you can find at www.hagerstown.org/memberhelp.
Antietam Broadband has put their weight behind helping local Washington County restaurants. They've created "Local Eats", a campaign to encourage residents to continue to support them by placing carry out, curbside pickup and delivery or to purchase gift cards.

Local Eats is a listing of area restaurants, including their contact information, and whether the establishment offers carry out, curbside pickup and/or delivery. The directory is updated as new establishments are added! You can visit here: https://www.wcltv.com/restaurants
Horizon Goodwill Industries are excited to announce that they teamed up with  The Arc of Washington County, Inc.  to gather volunteers to help with an immediate need for face masks for local agencies including the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, Turning Point Homeless Outreach Team and more.

Horizon Goodwill is providing all the materials needed for the fabric masks and the Arc will be cutting the fabric & materials and sorting them into packets for volunteers!
Interested? Please contact their Chief Mission Officer, Brooke Grossman, at 301-988-0185 for details. Together, we can make this happen! Plus - stay tuned for more helpful videos and pictures on how to make the masks!

The Arc serves hundreds of Washington County residents and by providing at-home care, it’s nearly impossible for staff to keep six-feet of distance. But, measures are still being taken to provide adequate and safe care for residents. The Arc has partnered with non-profits including Goodwill to ensure all essential workers are cared for during the pandemic by making hundreds of masks.

“Not only are we fulfilling our needs, but as soon as our orders are filled to take care of our staff, we’re working with Goodwill to fill those orders needed out in the community to make sure everyone in Washington County that are essential employees on the front line are being taken care of,” said Manager of Community Relations & Events Sue Harr. If you’re looking to volunteer,  click here .

They're also urgently seeking donations for much needed masks to help protect the people we support and our staff, The Arc staff set up "shop" and started a mask sewing assembly line! Homemade masks are welcome and/or supplies to make masks are welcome: bandanas, 16 x 10.5 inch square cotton fabric, 1/4 inch elastic, 1/4 or 3/8 inch ribbon that can be tied: 18" pieces; mask kits are available for volunteers to sew at home and return. Donations accepted by mail or in person: The Arc of Washington County, Inc; 820 Florida Ave; Hagerstown, MD 21740. Questions can be directed to: Sue Harr, Manager, Community Relations: sbharr@arcwc-md.org or call 301.733.3550 x2241. In person donations accepted at the Portico Entrance at 840 Florida Ave, M-F 8:00 AM-4:00 PM.
In recognition of the 50 th anniversary of Earth Day, Hagerstown Community College will host a week of virtual activities, April 20 to 24.

The theme for the week is “our natural connections,” those environmental and natural phenomena that help us stay connected to the Earth and each other. All activities are listed at www.hagerstowncc.edu/earthday2020 and include:
  • Monday, April 20 - Share your photos, artwork, videos, and music to celebrate “Our Natural Connections.” Entries will be shared on HCC social media pages, and every person who participates will receive a chance to win prizes from local businesses.
  • Tuesday, April 21 – Musician Jenni Avila will present a concert of music that celebrates the diversity of life, with original songs that have an energizing presence.
  • Wednesday, April 22 - A series of mini presentations from HCC’s environmental studies students will highlight some of the environmental problems facing our community and planet.
  • Thursday, April 23 - Dr. Deborah Landau, conservation ecologist for the Nature Conservancy, will present a lecture that focuses on ecological restoration through controlled burning, native tree planting, invasive species removal, hydrologic restoration, increased forest resiliency, and the effect of these conservation actions on plants, animals, and natural communities.
  • Friday, April 24 – National Arbor Day - HCC President Jim Klauber will share a video message to celebrate the week’s activities.
To learn more about Earth Day, visit www.earthday.org . To learn more about HCC’s Environmental Studies Program, visit
In response to the impact of COVID-19,  United Way of Central Maryland  & the  Community Foundation of Washington County MD, Inc.  have established a COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund to support Washington County community-based organizations.

In the weeks and months ahead, the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund will provide additional capacity to community-based organizations in Washington County. This fund will deliver economic assistance and access to vital food and basic need supplies to the many children, families and households who already have and will be impacted by the temporary loss of income. The Washington County COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund may also be deployed to strengthen our community’s ability to prepare for and respond to a variety of health and other emergencies, as well as to support programs and initiatives that are focused on fighting for the health, education, basic needs and financial stability of our community.

Donations made to the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund will support efforts to provide relief to people impacted by Coronavirus and its effect on our community.
DONATE to the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.

You can also text CovidWashCo to 313131

Dot Foods is donating four tractor-trailer loads of food Wednesday to help families in need during the novel coronavirus pandemic, a company official said.

Dot Foods has 12 sites in the U.S. so those types of donations are occurring across the nation, said Brian Duffield, the East Region general manager at the Williamsport-area facility.

"The spirit of giving is very consistent with our culture, and our owners, the Tracy family, are very supporting and encouraging us to help our community in any way we can," Duffield said. The company makes donations to the community every year, but those have stepped up recently with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Dot Foods is North America's largest food redistributor, delivering food to businesses like Sysco, US Foods and Johnnies in Chambersburg, Pa., who then supply food to schools and restaurants, Duffield said. With schools closed and restaurants impacted by the pandemic, Dot Foods has seen its business drop at least 50% nationwide, he said. The company employs over 400 people at its Williamsport-area facility.

"The United Way is incredibly grateful to Tim Miles and the DOT Foods, Williamsport team for supporting our community in this time of crisis," United Way of Washington County President and CEO Heather Guessford wrote in an email.

Miles, a Dot Foods employee, has been coordinating the donation with United Way, Duffield said. 

"By serving as the lead agency in organizing this effort, the United Way is able to stretch donations further and impact thousands of residents through collaboration," Guessford wrote.

The donation will help over 20 groups, "including our partners in fighting hunger, For Our City and the Hagerstown Housing Authority," she wrote.

United Way of Washington County was working with the housing authority, the Hagerstown Area Religious Council (HARC) and For Our City to get the word out to other organizations to identify needs and arrange for groups to pick up food on Wednesday, said Allison Dillow, United Way's marketing director. Individuals and families are not to pick up food directly from Dot.

The donation Wednesday is almost 12,000 cases or about 125,000 pounds worth more than $150,000, Duffield said.
Most of the donated food is refrigerated or frozen and includes proteins like chicken, turkey breasts, burgers, sausage and bacon as well as noodle bowls, yogurt and other foods, Dillow said. The donation also includes a few nonperishable items like bottled water and chips.

Because the food is refrigerated or frozen, the lead community organizations were working quickly Tuesday to get word out to various groups and churches to pick up the food to help families in need.

Washington County Community Action Council President and CEO Geordie Newman said Dot Foods' donation is valuable not only to the council's clients, but to the community as a whole.

Securing donated food has been critical to the agency's food pantry over the last month and a half, he said.
Newman said 320 households were registered to pick up monthly supplemental food bags from March 23 to April 13. Of those, 152 were new clients who received temporary food bank cards.

That number will only increase, he said.
Dot's donation is a "big deal" and will provide the religious council's members a chance to distribute a different type of food since mostly they give out nonperishables, said Wendi Perry, HARC's executive director.

Some churches' food pantries are closed because the churches are closed, but Perry said she'd already received about a dozen inquiries from member churches and other groups in roughly an hour of getting word out.

"This has come as a welcome surprise and they're jumping on it immediately," she said.

During the pandemic, people aren't donating to food pantries the way they normally do, Perry said.

Other donations Dot Food has made since late March include 2,800 cases to the local Maryland Food Bank facility, about 900 cases to Cedar Ridge Ministries and 500 and 2,700 cases to a couple area churches, Duffield said.
Gannett Media has launched a FREE Support Local website to help local businesses drive some online business during this challenging time and be a resource for the local community. Please see the details below. Is this something the Chamber be willing to send out this email blast to your membership? 
Local businesses are the backbone of our communities. They make our cities and towns unique. Herald Mail Media wants to support local businesses like yours!

·    Their reach is tremendous – and it’s growing!  In the last seven days, 318,000 unique viewers have visited  heraldmailmedia.com . Now is the time to leverage their vast, growing audience on YOUR behalf! 

·    They are rallying around local businesses and increasing their support to you. They recently launched  SupportLocal , sparking communities to take action through the purchase of gift cards, online shopping, delivery service options, and ordering take-out or delivery from restaurants. In the coming days, they will be adding additional features. It’s all about connecting their audience to local businesses like yours.

·        Add your business now!  It’s free and easy. A local rep is happy to add it for you right now as they are connecting.
·       And, you should know that they will be using their highly engaged social media audiences to promote and drive folks here.
·       Your web presence is more important than ever. They are seeing 40% more traffic on their news sites as people are at home and seeking information. Are you ready? 
  • Make sure your online listings are up to date and accurate
  • Your website needs to show up when people are searching, which means ensuring strong SEO (search engine optimization) practices. SEO can be a journey, but there are things you can do now. Download this Free eBook  
  • Your website overall should be ready for prime-time, especially to stay relevant with updates regarding your day-to-day operations.
  • Herald Mail has a tool that scores your online presence. Let them know if you want to know your grade, and they can set up time to review it with you! Contact your local sales representative or Advertising Director, Brittney Hamilton at 301-331-5501 for more information.
Washington County, Maryland has invited many partners to form a Joint Information Center (JIC) created to address COVID-19 Coronavirus.

Here at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, we're proud to be involved in these daily meetings and contributing to the County's daily press releases. We're in good company: Meritus Health, Washington County Public Schools, Hagerstown Community College, The City of Hagerstown, Washington County Sheriff's Department, Washington County Health Department. All of these agencies combine information on a daily basis to form one uniform email per day.

We want YOU to be a part of this mailing list, but you need to sign up to receive these messages and encourage you to pass along the word to the rest of our community, should they be interested in receiving these alerts in their Inbox.

A member blog contribution from The HR Trail

Let's face it - these are uncertain times with an uncertain "expiration date". One thing we can all agree on is that the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the lives of everyone across the globe. People are social distancing (hello new phrase for 2020), businesses are shutting down or operating on a skeleton crew, face masks and gloves are being worn almost everywhere, and every time we turn the news on or check our phones we are being inundated with Coronavirus statistics or information. These are strange times, especially for small businesses and their employees. That's why staying ahead of the crisis curve can be very beneficial not only for you and your business, but for your employees as well.

How do you keep employee retention during a time of crisis? Here are a few ways to do so!

1)   Hire the right people. Be open and honest with new hires about their jobs, job descriptions, job expectations, etc. A versatile employee can be vital for a business, but they should know what to expect from the very start of the job. Also, do your research and take your thorough and sweet time really finding the right fit for your small business. Don't hire just to hire. 

2)   Be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Shutting down your business due to a global pandemic was probably not on your radar or mind, was it? Unfortunately, these 'acts’ happen and this time it's happening all around us. If you're closed right now because of the crisis, take this time to remind yourself why this business is important and how you can keep its momentum going once the dust starts to settle. Employees want to dedicate their time and work to a place that's organized, prepared, looks out for them, and doesn't stray from goals or objectives. Ensure that everyone is on the same page before, during, and after a crisis. 

3)   Communication is key! Literally everything feels like it's up in the air right now. This crisis isn't like a meeting with a start and end date/time. Keep employees in the loop through communicating with them daily, weekly, etc. Chances are they're also confused and worried about what's going on with the world and with their jobs. Send an email, shoot a text or make a phone call. It's 2020, there are a million ways to communicate with someone now, so use it! 

4)   Incentivize. Incentives like benefits packages, paid time and sick time off, family leave, work from home options are extremely important for employee retention. Do you want someone amazing to work for you or to continue to work for you? Offer them something meaningful and important in exchange for their hard work and dedication. A positive work-life balance, free training, happy hours (of course those aren't happening right now except maybe on Zoom), health insurance, and more can all help keep an employee around, even in times of a crisis.

Also remember to be flexible, patient, kind, supportive, and understanding during times like right now with employees. The world may feel a bit overwhelming right now, but we (employers/employees/human beings) will get through this. 

Amber Trail, MBA, SHRM-CP
Founder & Consultant
The HR Trail, LLC
Do you have something to share with fellow Chamber members? Simply email Director of Member Services Tim Luipersbeck at tim@hagerstown.org to get started on this free opportunity.
Washington County Chamber of Commerce members include more than 650 organizations, representing over 40,000 local jobs in a wide variety of industries: Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Skilled Trades, Service and Hospitality, Technology, Government, Nonprofit, and Education.