Colorado business chambers prepared for the worst during coronavirus. It turns out things weren’t so bad.

The business community braced for the worst when coronavirus restrictions began in March 2020. But more than a year later, it wasn’t as bad as they thought.

Early on in the pandemic, Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce waived membership fees to let local businesses most in need of help use its resources and webinars on federal financial relief.

And most members stuck around. New ones even joined. The Mesa County organization now has 825 members, 25 more members than before COVID began. And, surprisingly, there weren’t widespread closures among members, president and CEO Diane Schwenke said. 

“We didn’t have as many (go out of business) as I think a lot of people had predicted, or thought we would,” Schwenke said. “The federal assistance was huge and helped a lot of them stay in business. If they were really weak going into the pandemic, they didn’t make it. But we only had a handful.”

Diane Schwenke, president of Grand Junction Area…

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