Letter to the City of Thief River Falls to Reopen Retail Businesses
Tuesday, May 5, 2020
To the City of Thief River Falls,
Today, a joint letter signed by Chambers and Businesses across Minnesota will be delivered to Governor Walz for the return to work of small businesses and ensure equity across all sectors and sizes. The Thief River Falls Chamber has signed this letter to advocate for our local businesses to reopen Statewide.
Thief River Falls local retailers and main street businesses are suffering significant financial lost due to COVID-19 as they have been subjected to financial and operational challenges. On behalf of retail businesses, we are advocating to allow businesses to fully open safety to prevent any further economic impact.
In an Economic Impact Survey of Thief River Falls businesses, 84% of them are projecting a large to medium impact to sales and revenue over the next 6 months due to COVID-19. Small businesses are the heart of Thief River Falls, we can't afford to wait any longer to experience even further financial setback and watch them go out of business.
This "one size fits all model" does not fit our community. For example, many large companies can easily offer online ordering to support curbside delivery while smaller retailers will have to adjust operations. This works well for larger stores who have websites utilizing e-commerce, but it does not fit a rural model. Although our local retailers are innovative and adaptable, many of these resources are limited and come at a cost. While most businesses have adjusted their operations to accommodate for their customers during this time, not all can make the same adjustments and need to remain fully open.
Lastly, with some of Grand Forks retailers now open, Thief River Falls residents are currently traveling there to go shop as our stores remain closed. Keep in mind, Grand Forks County has over 250+ confirmed COVID-19 cases. With best workplaces practices implemented, we feel businesses should be given the option to reopen.
On behalf of local businesses, we are asking the City of Thief River Falls to allow them to fully open with their best workplace practices applied. It’s critical to get our community moving again in the safest way possible for employees and customers!
Antonio Franklin Jr.,
Thief River Falls Chamber of Commerce