The following article was written by Maddie Fox – a recipient of a 2021 Superior Chamber of Commerce scholarship.  Candidates were asked to respond to the question: Discuss a business trend that has been impacted or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. How should a local economy cope with this change, and how can a chamber of commerce assist?


Technology is becoming more and more prevalent across all aspects of life, and it is now becoming even more important for businesses. With the restrictions in place due to the pandemic over the past year, in-person services have declined, and businesses have needed to adapt to a virtual marketplace if they are to stay afloat. Online ordering and contactless pickup, virtual team meetings, and telemedicine are all new realities for many businesses in Superior, and the economy must continue to adapt if it is to remain viable.

As the world has moved into the 21st century, it was only a matter of time before businesses would need to embrace the possibilities provided by a virtual marketplace. After all, Amazon has been selling everything imaginable in an online setting for years, and now even companies like Tesla are shifting their sales models to avoid physical storefronts. But most local businesses simply did not have the technical means or bandwidth to take this large step forward.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were faced with the grim reality of adapting to the new world before us, lest they simply die out. Over the past year, nearly every restaurant has debuted some sort of online ordering service, bike shops have attempted virtual consultations, and even medical providers have shifted to a telemedicine approach. The economy is doing what it always does, adapting to the current market conditions in order to remain relevant to consumers.

But this has not been an easy transition for many. Clunky online interfaces, glitchy software, and Internet bandwidth create a new series of hurdles that further complicate the process of shifting to an online business model. Most small businesses need help navigating the new frontier of e-commerce, and this is where the chamber of commerce can lend a hand. As a respected organization that supports the economic vitality of member businesses and the community as a whole, business leaders look to the chamber for support and now is the time to deliver on that.

For businesses delving into the digital marketplace, the sheer multitude of options available can be overwhelming. From internet service providers to website hosting services, to payroll and accounting options, there are so many choices that businesses need to make. It can be overwhelming. If the chamber of commerce was to compile a list of trusted service providers from within these categories, it would give businesses peace of mind knowing that they are choosing services recommended by a trusted organization. Plus, the chamber could use this opportunity to promote local providers of these services, doubling the economic impact on the community.

With all the chaos of this past year, one upside that has emerged is the adaptability of the local economy and its ability to shift business models in order to best serve the community. The online economy is booming, and in order for businesses to successfully take advantage of the opportunities here, they need a helping hand. The chamber of commerce has the unique ability to aid these businesses in the transition, and help bolster the economy for years to come.

Maddie Fox graduates from Monarch High School this year and will attend Colorado School of Mines to study Chemical Engineering.