As we reflect back on 2020, the Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association had a busy year, and we are looking forward to more excitement in 2021. Like most businesses, we experienced some challenges steering the ship through the rough waters of the pandemic. However when we compiled the data for 2020, we found many quantifiable positives.
Once compiled, the data was so very interesting we felt it necessary to share it with everyone else too. So here it is.
During 2020, we sent 61 different emails to the members and former members on our email contact list, and continued to give reports at the monthly City Council Workshops.
For the past few years, we had a member count of between 175 and 185 members, and one of our goals has been to surpass 200 members. On December 3, when we published a Shop Local page in the Riverland News with all of our members, we were at 199. So close! We got to 200 during the very last week of 2020. We would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all of our members who renewed in 2020, and to our 28 new business members and three individual members for helping us reach our goal of 200. On January 1, 2021 our member roster included 168 businesses; 25 clubs, churches and nonprofits; and seven individuals.
Now more than ever, businesses have needed to embrace technology. We have worked hard to meet local businesspeople at their level and help them level up as far as technology is concerned. We have helped several local businesses set up Facebook pages and showed more how to navigate the publishing tools to post content. We have also continued our efforts to share ideas for engaging content and made other helpful suggestions for getting the most out of their posts. Finally, we made 827 posts on our DCBA Facebook page and earned 318 new followers. Most of our posts are about local businesses and nonprofits, but in 2020 we also worked hard to use our page to help both businesses and the community get the information they needed when it came to changes in the IRS deadlines, applying for unemployment and the PPP and posts about local businesses who were seeking hiring.
About two dozen blogs were published on our website, dunnellonchamber.com in 2020. This included business spotlights, resources for assistance during the pandemic, information about events, and some just for fun. 10,762 unique users visited our website during 12,389 sessions viewing 19,601 pages. Most website visitors visited our member directory. Our website had the most daily visitors, 283, on April 1, when people were wondering why there were decorated flamingos all over town. Special thanks to Dunnellon Elementary School art teacher Michel Yeuell for approaching us for help in finding businesses to host flocks of flamingos. Our community sure needed that bright spot. It was perfect timing.
Starting in November, we launched an online Shop Local campaign that consisted of a 12-page online shop local holiday gift guide published on Issuu and nearly 300 social media posts along with the previously mentioned December 3 Shop Local page in the newspaper.
We were only able to hold two of our popular networking dinners in 2020, but we sold 160 tickets to the awards dinner in January and 80 tickets to the February dinner hosted by the Dunnellon High School Student Support Foundation. Eventually we mastered Zoom well enough to host twelve Lunch & Learns from August through November. Any member business who wished could offer a Lunch & Learn for others to learn about an aspect of their business. We are looking forward to beginning our dinners again in 2021.
Two of the 2020 accomplishments of which we were most proud were our Duck Race and our recycling for nonprofits. The two efforts raised over $7,000 for local nonprofits during a time when many of their fund sources had dried up. We also managed to pull off a concert weekend in October and a Christmas Parade while practicing pandemic safety measures.
Our board of directors put in more than 790 hours volunteering in endeavors to help the business community. Our office volunteers put in another 1,321.5 hours staffing the office.
One or more representatives of the DCBA attended every regularly scheduled City Council Workshop and Meeting in 2020, and during six of the twelve when we gave our monthly report, we reported that we have been working on a much needed renovation of our building.
The renovation of our office building has been quite a long, drawn out process, but we are getting there! It has been necessary to complete one part before starting on the next. We are now ready for a new roof, which should be started some time in January 2021. Those of you in the building industry know that lumber and the acquisition of it has been a roller coaster this past year. The wait for our trusses to be made is nearly over! What will follow after the roof is a fresh coat of paint on the building and, in the future, new signage and landscaping.
We look forward to continuing to empower local businesses to grow in 2021. We will provide value to our members by fostering partnerships, offering networking opportunities, offering education and professional development, marketing and promoting for our member businesses, and advocating for our members. We hope local businesses will continue to form relationships with us and that we can be a resource they can use to continue to grow their business in the direction that they wish.
Committed to the
Businesses of our
Julie Mancini, Executive Director
Dunnellon Chamber & Business Association
The DCBA Board of Directors and Volunteers
We tracked a variety of data over 2020 and discovered that, while there were challenges, we prevailed during the year.
A look at our Facebook posts and reach was very interesting, with a variety of helpful posts, posts about individual businesses and an emphasis on shopping local being the popular focus.