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Many helped city navigate through challenges of COVID

Alright, everyone do it with me … raise your right hand above your head, bring it down and touch your back. Now begin patting your back and say out loud, “Thank you.”

I want to say thank you to all of you for so many things, but I’ll share the top three today.

The heroes of 2020 to the business community are the local people who stepped up and made sure the mom and pop businesses knew they loved them. Our Boulder City locals deserve more than a round of applause; you all deserve our acknowledgement as the key factor in helping those businesses that were able to remain open in some capacity and to those that had to close and are now reopened. Without your thoughtful support, Boulder City may have seen a greater loss of businesses during this tragic past year. Whether you put cash through their registers or simply participated in some social media promotion and sharing, you truly made a difference.

Did you know that local small businesses generate 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail stores do? Many of you may have seen the “shop small” challenge from a couple of years ago to spend $100 per year more on local business instead of chain stores. It would put an extra $3 million a year into the nation’s economy as well as create the need for thousands more jobs. Can you imagine what the collective power of Boulder City could do if we decidedly spent just $100 more than usual by the end of this year? Now that is a power increase I can get behind.

Before I leave the shop local topic, I’d like to also be sure and thank our neighbors. Southern Nevada found refuge in Boulder City’s open spaces and safe recreational opportunities. I want to thank them for also recognizing that a picnic lunch picked up curbside from one of our restaurants, or purchasing fuel from one of our local service stations, was a very large part of what helped sustain us through the COVID-19 restrictions. We welcome you back anytime and do find ourselves as tourists in your fine land also.

Now, business owners, stand up and take a bow. Your struggle was and still may be real. You may have added a few more gray hairs over the last 14 months. You may have had to watch your life’s work disappear overnight and are now struggling to see light at the end of a very rough tunnel. But please know that so many of us are watching, praying, willing and ready to see you through your challenge and want to see you succeed in maintaining your place in the business community of Boulder City.

Winston Churchill is often attributed as saying, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” I thank you for having courage and tenacity in a time when no one could blame you for throwing in the towel.

And the final standing ovation goes to our city leadership, staff, public safety and emergency operations center team. Their efficiency and effectiveness was nothing short of lifesaving. They showed compassion and concern and lead us to the current day faring better than what was originally feared.

We still mourn the loss of so many greats from Boulder City and our locals’ loved ones, but I truly am grateful to those that lost sleep, were deeply stressed, sacrificed family time and risked their own lives to be sure we were compliant, had options and staved off what could have been far more devastating. To each of you, a heartfelt thank you. Because of you, Boulder City was prepared to reopen to this point and is looking to the final phases in the near future.

With an attitude of gratitude, I feel a sense of hope and encouragement in looking ahead to the goals and planning of the Boulder City Chamber’s new fiscal year beginning July 1. We thank outgoing Chairman Randy Hees for his leadership through a pandemic that still proved to be quite a successful year as we accepted the role of operating the state of Nevada Welcome Center.

On June 24, the chamber will host its annual Installation and Awards Dinner at the Hoover Dam Lodge where Hees will announce the new chairman as well as present the annual community awards such as the Eva McGarvey Member of the Year, the Alice Isenberg Memorial Award, the Goldie Begley Energizer Award, the Bob “Chief” Sears Lifetime Achievement Award, the Bert Hansen Business Person of the Year, the Nonprofit of the Year, and the Chairman’s Award. There have been so many amazingly talented and delightful people that have been past recipients and this year’s winners will be setting the bar very high for future recipients.

Alright, if you started reading this and followed instructions, I forgot to tell you to stop patting your back before proceeding into the next paragraph. If you will now require traction from all that patting, I do apologize — or just shop local and find a wonderful chiropractor.

Jill Lagan, CEO of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, is the third of four generations in Boulder City. She loves cooking, jet skiing and hanging out with her family. Her personal motto is “A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.”

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