“…the board is considering furloughing me for the months of December and January.”
Those were the words of Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nikki Morrow in a Nov. 18 letter to chamber members. The chamber board is considering the furlough due to the effects of the pandemic.
The battle against COVID-19 and the coronavirus has resulted in economic hardships and casualties worldwide, affecting all types of industry, including the tourist community nestled in the Ozarks.
Morrow’s letter noted that there are chamber members that collectively owe more than $12,000 in dues and sponsorships, but she said she understands the plight. Mountain View business owners have had to cut costs, and in some cases, employees.
The chamber is no exception. It has already had to remove a full-time position because of COVID-19, leaving Morrow and faithful volunteers to carry on the chamber’s work.
“We have some wonderful and dedicated volunteers,” she told White River Now’s Gary Bridgman. “We couldn’t carry on the chamber’s work without them. We couldn’t.”
As for Morrow’s own potential two-month furlough, she said it’s the responsible move if approved.
“It is critical to save as much money as possible before going into our next season,” Morrow wrote in the letter to members. “I am ok with this decision. I feel that it is the responsible action to take.”
COVID-19 has also affected the chamber’s annual “Caroling in the Caverns” concert series. The 15-year-old event can sometimes bring in $50,000 for the year, particularly with sold-out shows.
“Caroling income is how we are able to pay for our workers, utilities, office supplies, advertising & promotions for Mountain View, and it is how we seed start-up costs for festivals,” Morrow said in the letter. “Not having caroling will create a negative impact on the chamber as well as the community.”
As the board considers Morrow’s furlough, the director is hoping members with past due accounts will bring them up-to-date because the area will greatly need the revenue to prepare for the 2021 season.
Featured file image of Mountain View Credit: Brandon Rush
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