Wildfires Take a Toll on Small Businesses in Josephine County

Wildfires Take a Toll on Small Businesses in Josephine County

Posted: Oct. 30, 2018 6:36 PM
Updated: Oct. 30, 2018 6:37 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore.-After a costly fire season for Southern Oregon, the Chamber of Commerce in Grant’s Pass wanted to see how small businesses in the community were impacted.
A total of 165 surveys were submitted, with seventy-five percent of small business owners in Josephine county saying they were economically impacted by the wildfires.
“It was over 6 weeks that affected us. Last year it was about 3 weeks,” says Jan Bertaggia.
Bertaggia is the owner of the wild rogue emporium in downtown grants pass. She is a part of the businesses who were affected by the wildfires this summer. She says it has affected almost everything from staffing to shipments.
“Business has struggled. You know we prepared for a really big touristy Summer, and that didn’t materialize,” says Bertaggia.
Several small business owners, including Bertaggia joined forces by visiting local shops around Josephine county to try and help make up for the loss in tourism and support each other. Bertaggia says, “We all ate local, shopped local and took care of each other.”
As the slower season approaches, the chamber is looking towards other events to help boost sales and bring visitors in.
“We’re really pushing small business Saturday, that’s our next step to get people to buy local and support where you live,” says President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Josie Molloy
The chamber of commerce sent out a survey to all small businesses in Josephine county to understand just how much the wildfires impacted the local economy. This information will be shared in the community and federally.
“We’ll make sure we share it with our community, state representatives, Business Oregon, but then we’ll also push it out to the federal government as well because we really want the federal representatives to know that Southern Oregon is really impacted,” says Molloy.
Bertaggia says she is trying to be optimistic about next summer and hopes that information from this new survey will make a positive impact in her community. “We’ve got to hope for the best and a little bit prepare for the worst, but I’m hoping that we’ve learned a lot this year.”

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