Miamisburg is a wonderful city with all the trimmings one expects to find in a typical Ohio small town. In the summer time, on any given weekend, there are concerts in the park, folks enjoying food and drinks on the patio of their favorite restaurant, or strolling down main street browsing our shops and enjoying the Great Miami Riverway bike path. This year the effects of COVID on our town, like so many others, have brought challenges to our small business community like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetime. Our downtown and community thrive because of the commitment of the people who call Miamisburg home and give their all to support it. The Miamisburg Merchants Association is a big part of what pulls the downtown businesses together with the city to raise money, hold events and create opportunities for people to come together in our town and support one another. This year, like most non-profits, our traditional methods of bringing people together with events and fundraising as we have in the past, has had to change. The tight knit nature of the town and the desire of our business owners and community leaders drove us to not sit back and let the pandemic take us out, but instead change our traditional methods of meeting and fundraising events, which are always well attended and locally supported group events.
When the pandemic hit, and we all had to shut down, we quickly came together and met as a group on a bi-weekly basis. The Zoom format was new to us. We were used to handshakes and hugs as we connected in person every month at our meetings or ran into each other in town on a daily basis. Our virtual meetings were so different from what we were all used to, but they provided a chance for us to see each other and learn how we were all handling the challenges that were placed upon us, staying on top of the financial resources that were becoming available as time went on and just in general, continuing to connect and support one another.
Fundraising is key to our success, and in this time more than ever, our small businesses and our other wonderful historical spots like the Plaza Theatre and the Baum Opera House need help to survive the hit that the absence of people being able to get out and enjoy one another has brought upon them. As with our meeting format, the MMA had to quickly figure out how we were going to raise money in the absence of our traditional fundraising events. In the first two months of the pandemic, we, along with our Miamisburg Rotary Club, Miamisburg Community Foundation and the City of Miamisburg came together to create a small business loan program to assist businesses, with the help of Farmers and Merchants Bank. In light of the duration of the pandemic, and the increasing need, the funds in that loan program have now joined in to support the Louise Epperson Restaurant Rescue Fund, which has provided need based grants to our local establishments that most need the support. We held our first annual MMA golf outing in August, and that event allowed us to raise money in a safe environment, and last week, we launched a virtual Bourbon Raffle that will also allow us to replenish our funds as we continue to listen to our members and community and find ways to help.
As we close out the first month of 2021, we are all anxious to get back to “normal”. The news of rounds of vaccinations being distributed, and the hope of a return to our pre-COVID lives is energizing. In the city of Miamisburg, the Miamisburg Merchants Association (MMA) has been working hard to ensure that when that “normal” returns (whatever that means), every small business who has chosen to plant their flag in our town will be here to see it. This town is unique and special in its very own way. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all there is to see and do, along with the wonderful community of people that would love to meet you!
For more information on the Miamisburg Merchants Association you can check out our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/miamisburgmerchantsassoc/and our website www.miamisburgmerchants.com.
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