Volume 8 | Thursday September 10, 2020
President's Message
What will the new normal look like after this pandemic? One thing is for certain, as long as the virus is circulating we will not have a "normal' life. Individuals, communities, businesses and local governments are all learning new ways to connect. Businesses are reinventing themselves in order to survive by finding faster and less expensive ways to operate.The current situation has forced many of our events to become virtual, but it has also turned a spotlight on the creative ways we are reinventing ourselves. The annual Meals on Wheels fundraising event is a perfect example. With the help of our local radio station and the Sonora Area Foundation, they were able to raise $190,000 in just two hours during a radio-a thon!

Along the same lines, the need to stay connected was heard loud and clear from our members. In mid May the Sonora Chamber of Commerce launched the Sonora Chamber Connect e-newsletter as a way to share important information.

Another chamber networking staple that was sidelined due to the pandemic, was our monthly mixers. We are proud to announce that our first Virtual Mixer will be hosted by Fittin' Pretty Bra's and Boutique. Get ready for some fun and virtual networking! You should all be pretty well versed with ZOOM by now! See you on September 22nd at 5:30pm!!
Stay safe and be well,

Katie Dunn
Sonora Chamber President

Thank You to Our Gold Sponsors

Innovation & Business Assistance
Cole Przybyla
Innovation & Business Assistance 
Tuolumne County

Tuolumne County Business Reimbursement Grant Information
All businesses located in Tuolumne County, including the City of Sonora businesses, can request up to $2,000.00 of reimbursement for any purchases made after March 1, 2020 to mitigate changes due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The county can only reimburse purchases with receipts.
The last day to file a Business Reimbursement grant is December 15, 2020.
Please fill out the portions of form with Business Name, Address, email address, amount per purchase, invoice number and business owner signature. If you need more than 5 business expense reimbursement items, please print a second page until you have accounted for all your expenditures up to $2000 per business. If you need to retain original receipts for tax purposes, copies of receipts will be accepted. ​
Link to form can be found HERE​ ​
Please mail filled out form above and receipts to:

County of Tuolumne Health Department
Attn: Education and Compliance
20111 Cedar Rd. Sonora, CA 95370
If you have any questions regarding if a purchase qualifies, how to apply for the reimbursement or any assistance, please reach out to Cole Przybyla via email at cprzybyla@co.tuolumne.ca.us

Having a 5-Minute Plan
can save your life!
The City of Sonora and Pacific Gas and Electric Company would like to remind our community that evacuating from your home early could mean the difference of life or death. When a wildfire or other disaster strikes, be prepared to leave in a moments notice. Having a 5-Minute Plan with an escape route can get you and your family out safe. Don’t wait to be told evacuate, leave before fires get to close. Your 5-Minute Plan should include:
  1. Having an established meeting place.
  2. A packed emergency kit with essentials like medicine, important documents, clothes, food and water.
  3. Watch for weather reports and Red Flag Warnings.
  4. If you need to leave, take your emergency bags and gather your family and pets.
  5. Most important, don’t wait for the evacuation order!
for more information on creating
a 5-Minute Plan and being
prepared for disaster.

Update from
Visit Tuolumne County
When Visit Tuolumne County initially launched the new “Wander Freely” campaign in June, we did not know we would have to put it on pause two weeks later after a steady increase in local COVID cases restricted non-essential travel to Tuolumne County. After two months of being on hold we are excited that the “Wander Freely” campaign has been restarted just in time to encourage fall visitation. The campaign inspires visitors to enjoy Tuolumne County’s wide-open spaces and encourages them to visit responsibly. See more about the campaign at visittuolumne.com/wander-freely-campaign
As we invite visitors back to Tuolumne County keep in mind they will go where they feel confident that new safety protocols are being adhered to. Show your commitment to your customers and these new protocols by

Latest info from Valley Sierra SBDC
Howard White
Valley Sierra SBDC
The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Impact Report for the Valley Sierra Small Business Development Center.
Hosted by Opportunity Stanislaus covers
Stanislaus County as well as Tuolumne County.

Business Startup Class

Do you dream of owning your own business? Do you think you have what it takes to be successful? Take this free two-hour online webinar that introduces the entrepreneur to the basics of starting a new business:

  • Is your idea viable?
  • What kind of financing will it take to open your business?
  • Why do you need a business plan?
  • What are the risks, pitfalls, and requirements for opening a new business?

This workshop is intended for the budding entrepreneur who has a rough idea for a business model.

Sep 15, 2020 10:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Thank You to Our Bronze Sponsors
Spotlight on W.A.T.C.H.
In 1972, WATCH then known as Tuolumne Calaveras Association for the Handicapped, a non-profit corporation, began providing services for adults with intellectual disabilities. Work Activities for Tuolumne County Handicapped (WATCH) opened its doors for the first time in the old Poverty Hill School house in Stent. This original program was the first state funded service for adults with intellectual disabilities in Tuolumne County. In the beginning there were 8 individuals attending this newly established activity center. As our enrollment grew, so did the number and types of services we offered.

Sonora’s community has provided many job opportunities over the years such as litter pickup, janitorial, recycling, and retail at the Good Stuff Thrift Store. Since 2008, the Sonora Chamber of Commerce hired WATCH Resources to put together a litter crew along the main street of downtown Sonora picking up litter from the North end of N. Washington Street by the Saint James Episcopal Church all the way to the Day-O Espresso on the South end of N. Washington Street. 

Through our job training component, participants are able to have the guidance to gain work experience as well as a sense of pride to be able to earn a paycheck. On behalf of WATCH Resources and all the people that participate in the program, we would like to thank the Sonora Community for helping us reach our goals of building community, prompting employment, and increasing self-sufficiency.

Between changing COVID-19 regulations, record breaking heat, wildfires, power shut offs and more, it seems like every day as a business owner presents a new hurdle to overcome. With the fluidity of operations through these challenges, it’s more important than ever to keep your customers informed of your business’ change in safety policies, hours of operation and more. Here are some of the digital tools available to do this:⁣

Google My Business: If you don’t have a GMB account, you absolutely should! It’s a free tool to get your business listed on Google Search and Maps. Their new COVID-19 section allows you to update your listing to list online appointments available, post a “COVID-19 Update” and update your business hours.⁣ You can also add new amenities and features such as delivery, curbside pickup, and much more.

Facebook: Anytime you post on your Facebook page, you have the option to mark it as a “COVID-19 Update.” This is labeled clearly and has a Purple Heart Symbol to indicate the update. This feature is favored in the algorithm and is only available on desktop.⁣

Instagram: There are no COVID-19 actual updates here but I recommend using posts AND stories to keep everyone updated as this is favored in the algorithm. In addition, there are several Instagram story stickers such as Gift Cards, Donations and Food Orders that can help drive alternate forms of revenue for those being affected, especially restaurants.⁣

Yelp: Click on the “Business Information” section of your admin panel and you’ll see the “Updates during Coronavirus” section. This allows you to indicate whether you’re taking in-person or virtual visits, update your hours of operation, list additional safety measures being offered, and even give customers additional updates at the top of your page with a banner message.⁣

Follow @getsocialwithtiffany on Instagram for more free marketing tips!
Thank You to Our Community Sponsors
Sonora Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 3084
Sonora, CA 95370