Reconnecting the Ribbon: Chamber of Commerce launches new initiative to inspire hope

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SAN ANGELO, Texas – “Chambers are known for ribbon cuttings but we wanted to find a way to help businesses reconnect to the community so basically we’ve done a reverse ribbon cutting, we’ve got a ribbon that is separated and then they can put it back together to symbolize coming back together as a community,” Heather Kumpe, Director of Membership and Operations for the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce said.

The Chamber of Commerce launched a new initiative to reconnect businesses with the community.  The goal is to inspire a sense of cohesiveness between the residents and the businesses who have struggled during the pandemic. One of the first was held at the Twisted Root Burger Company on Wednesday, May 20, at 11 a.m.

“I think people are just so excited. As I’m out talking to people they are just thrilled to be here. That’s all I hear, we’re so glad you’re open, we’re so glad to be out. You know people love their loved ones and hopefully they love who they’re living with because there’s been a lot of that but they’re ready to be out,” Lori Francks, co-owner of Twisted Root Burger Company said.

Francks says she believes God made us to be relational so, people want to connect with not only their family but their friends as well. The business owner said there were many obstacles to overcome but there was one that ranked in the top spot when it came to her and her business partner.

“I think the biggest struggle was, this is just all been in uncharted waters, so no one has known what to do, how to do it, how far to go, how cautious to be. We wanna be smart, we wanna be wise, we wanna be clean, things we should be doing all the time anyway. So, we chose to stay open through all of it because we wanted to keep our employees, that was our key, was just to keep all employees. We still lost about half of them, but we are rehiring, that’s working out, praise God. But it’s been hard because you’re watching the money that you’ve been saving to do other things; you’re just opening the window and throwing it out the window,” Francks said.

Despite that, Francks says she still considers herself more fortunate than others who had to completely shut down their businesses.

“It doesn’t take long to hear someone else’s story and then you think, oh my gosh I don’t have any problems. So we’ve all got challenges because it’s just a hard time and we don’t know what to do with it so we’re doing the best we can,” Francks said.

Twisted Root Burger Company employees, members of Downtown San Angelo, Inc., and the Chamber of Commerce all gathered for the ceremony, sharing sentiments of hope.

“With the social distancing and everything shutting down and everyone staying home, we wanted to instill that sense of feeling connected to the community again. Everybody coming back together. We’re all in this together, let’s make it right and do this together,” Kumpe said.

If you are a business owner and would like to participate in a ceremony, call the Chamber of Commerce at (325) 655-4136.

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