Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce sponsors small businesses to help drive online shopping

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce is trying to get small businesses back on their feet by sponsoring virtual shopping initiatives. 

To help some get back on their feet, the Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce is working with a few to help them hold virtual cash mobs, a way for customers to purchase items online during live stream showcases of merchandise.

Paula Mullins, owner of the Carpenter’s Loft in Beckley, says the initiative has been great so far at drawing business.

“I appreciate every customer because it is hard for everybody and if we don’t work, we don’t eat. So it’s been really good,” Mullins said. 

Items are purchased online and customers will call the store to schedule a pick up time. They stay in their vehicles to keep contact to minimum, similar to how a grocery store does curbside pickup.

“And people will come up to the storefront and pick it up. They’ll call us when they’re here and we take their merchandise to them. And they usually pay with credit card, that way we don’t have to handle cash.”

The Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring businesses not just because they think they need a boost, but because they believe this will have to become a normal way of shopping in the near future, even after the pandemic slows down.

Michelle Rotellini, the president of the Raleigh County chamber of commerce, says that people might not be too anxious to go outside and shop regularly, even after the executive orders are lifted. 

“Really when we start to rebuild, it will still be important to continue this kind of shopping. People are gonna still kind of want to hang back and see how it goes,” Rotellini said.

And as the pandemic continues, this type of shopping will be one of the easier ways for small businesses to continue operating. Mullins believes that other small businesses can certainly do similar things to stay open.  

Well I think they definitely could, absolutely. Like I said, if I don’t work, I don’t eat being a small business owner. This is my living, I don’t have anything else to fall back on.”

The Chamber of Commerce is currently sponsoring ten different small businesses, and may continue to sponsor more in the coming weeks.

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