The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council has made a quick shift to accommodate the changing needs of business owners and leaders amid COVID-19. Whether by interrupting revenue streams, straining the supply chain or creating a sudden increase in demand, one thing is for certain – the COVID-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on businesses in Lee’s Summit and around the world.
“Business owners have no control over COVID-19, but what they can do is adapt and we are here to help them with that,” said LSEDC President Rick McDowell.
In March, the LSEDC activated a new business outreach effort, which included the launching of an online Business Resource Center and individual phone calls to business owners in Lee’s Summit. Through conversations with business owners, the LSEDC was able to gather information that will help assess the impact throughout the pandemic, communicate resources and to gather information that could assist in future assistance efforts.
The LSEDC also hosted webinars where participants were offered information about federal financial assistance programs, and new legal challenges and regulations presented by the pandemic.
“Whether it’s a phone call or a webinar, it’s important for us to have those conversations because even though COVID-19 is impacting nearly every businesses, it’s not impacting them all in the same way,” said Tina Chace, LSEDC Director of Business Development. “First and foremost, we want businesses to know about the resources available to help them right now. But recovery will be a long game and the more information we can gather now, the better we will be prepared to bounce back.”
The LSEDC is also adjusting to support one of its largest employment sectors, healthcare. The city is home to three hospitals, John Knox Village senior living and a variety of other health services. In the face of nationwide shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), many hospitals are coming up with innovative solutions to keep their employees safe. In March, Saint Luke’s East hospital reached out to the LSEDC in search of businesses that would have the capacity to create clear plastic intubation boxes. The boxes would be used to cover patients who are being intubated in order to shield health care staff. The LSEDC put out a call to the city’s businesses and was quickly able to provide the hospital with a list of willing business partners. Within days, Royal Machine in Lee’s Summit was able to deliver two prototype boxes to the hospital.
“In moments like these, we are humbled to know that Saint Luke’s has so many grateful and thoughtful friends who are willing to answer our call for help without hesitation. Together, we will weather this storm,” Michael VanDerhoef, CEO of Saint Luke’s Foundation said in a statement.
The LSEDC is now working on additional outreach efforts and collecting information to be used to help gauge the impact of the pandemic throughout the crisis. Business owners and leaders who need assistance are encouraged to visit leessummit.org/covid19 or to call the LSEDC office at 816-525-6617.