The Sunriver Area Chamber of Commerce was recently awarded a $40,000 grant from Deschutes County to provide critical support to local businesses during the pandemic.
Chamber Executive Director Kent Elliott said the grant will be used to promote a shop local campaign for the retail businesses and restaurants.
“We know Sunriver is a safe place for people to shop, eat, play and create memories and that’s an important message we want to share with others,” Elliott said. “Sunriver is the place where people can go and know the businesses and restaurants are following state guidelines as well as going above and beyond to take precautions to keep people safe from COVID and providing the best customer service.”
Elliott worked with Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair to secure funding for the chambers of commerce in Sunriver, Sisters and LaPine. The funding for the Buy Local Campaign was from the federal CARES Act through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Deschutes County was responsible for allocating the funding.
“We knew with additional funding the chambers would be able to assist the businesses in their community,” Adair said. “I know it’s been tough for many of the businesses, especially the restaurants complying with guidelines during the pandemic.”
Adair and Elliott encourage residents and guests of Sunriver as well as people from nearby communities to shop and eat locally.
“We are all in this together,” Adair said. “We need to work together the next couple of months to help our businesses get through this challenging time. Without local support, it’s possible many businesses won’t be able to stay open.”
Sunriver Books & Music owner Deon Stonehouse has taken many steps to ensure the safety of her shoppers including limiting five people at a time in the store and offering curbside or delivery in Sunriver.
“There is value in shopping at stores that have roots in the community and that care about the community,” Stonehouse said. “When you shop local, the shop owner lives here, cares about what happens to individuals and the community as a whole and treats everyone right.”
Sunriver Brewery directors Ryan Duley and Brandon Ehrlich emphasized their goal is to provide their customers a high-quality experience, regardless of the circumstances. During the pandemic, they have taken extra steps to adhere to state guidelines to keep customers safe.
“We are a small family business that understands many other small businesses operate on a month-to-month status. We know many small businesses aren’t capable of sustaining the new regulations and loss of business,” Duley said. “That’s why we try to do what we can to support other small businesses not only during this time but all the time.”
Duley and Ehrlich encourage the people visiting and living in Sunriver as well nearby community members to shop and eat locally.
“The dollars spent locally do more to help the community, because they stay in the community,” Ehrlich said. “Many local businesses like ours sponsor community events.”
Incoming Chamber President Dan Youmans applauds how many entities in Sunriver are working with the chamber to support local businesses and the importance of adhering to safety protocols. The chamber is working with The Village at Sunriver, Sunriver Resort, Sunriver Owners Association, Central Oregon Visitors Association and others to support local businesses.
Youmans said Sunriver is the cure for the “COVID Cabin Fever.”
“I invite people to stroll through the Village or explore the Sunriver Resort,” Youmans said. “And while you’re enjoying this magical setting, know that you can get something to eat or do some shopping, while having confidence that our local businesses have taken the steps to keep you safe.”