As businesses start to reopen in Phase Four of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reopening phases, they will be looking to get back business they have lost because of the coronavirus pandemic, Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said.
Getting the information out about businesses throughout Cortland, Cortlandville and Homer and what they’re doing to reopen safely will also be a part of that.
To help with this, the Cortland County Businesses Development Corp., the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce have teamed up with the city, Cortlandville and the village of Homer to launch the Cortland County Comeback campaign.
The campaign will work to promote local businesses and serve as a centralized hub for information about reopening phase progression, including safety protocols enacted by local businesses and any changes to business operations, according to the campaign news release.
Local business owners will also be highlighted to show off their products and tell their stories of why they do business in Cortland County.
“Obviously we’re still battling the virus but we still want people to patronize the businesses” in a safe manner, Tobin said. “This campaign will take the appropriate steps to keep everyone safe.”
The campaign launched Tuesday and businesses are being added to the list of participants, said Taylor Pero, the public relations and marketing director for the Owego based marketing firm Stephen Donnelly & Associates.
Businesses participating can also partake in an art contest where businesses hand out blank templates of Cortland County for children to fill in with places in their community that mean the most to them, she said.
One winner will be chosen from each municipality in the county and their art will be turned into a decal sticker to be displayed in restaurants and shop windows, according to the release.
“When you’re seeing the logo at different businesses, that should give you peace of mind that the businesses are doing what’s safe for the people,” Tobin said.
The campaign was originally supposed to provide updates and information during the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects to help enhance and improve areas around Main Street, said Garry VanGorder, the executive director of the Business Development Corp.
When the coronavirus pandemic took a hold of the county in March, those plans were held, he said.
He later got called by Cortland County Legislature Chairman Paul Heider (R-Cuyler, Solon) and was asked to create a marketing campaign when businesses started to reopen.
VanGorder agreed and used the plan that was going to happen for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative for the reopening of businesses during the pandemic.
In May, VanGorder and members of the Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce got together and started developing the campaign.
Since then, they have been working generating interest for businesses to participate.
Participating businesses will start to be highlighted in the coming weeks and the campaign is currently working on logo decals that participating businesses can display.
“We have a really good plan and I think people are going to appreciate our efforts,” he said. “I hope they do.”
Information on businesses and the campaign will be posted on the county’s website and social media pages, he said.
VanGorder said he hoped this campaign can help bring support to local businesses that they might have missed since closing during the epidemic.
“We felt like it was something that needed to happen,” he said. “It’s been a long haul from March to Wednesday.”