It is now the third quarter of the year, and, in many ways, we are still in the grip of COVID-19. We are carefully watching the delta variant and we are doing everything we can to keep our citizens safe and our businesses open and operational. I always wondered what the "new normal" was going to look like and now we know. Some people are wearing masks while others are not. More than 65% of Grant County residents, older than 12 years old, have been completely vaccinated and many more are getting vaccinated every day. Many businesses are asking you to mask up while others aren't. You, and your neighbors, are doing everything you can to be safe and you are to be commended for your diligence.

I've always said that the recovery of our county is not only based on what we do now. Our overall recovery is based on what we are doing now that will come to fruition in the next two to three years. Now is the time to be thinking about recovery!

If you've ever thought about starting a business, then now might be the time to take the leap and get that business off the ground. If you have a hobby that could logically be transformed into a business now might be the time to explore the possibility of getting that business started. If you have a great recipe, that you share with others which they love, then now might be the time to take your food to the marketplace.

Please understand that I'm not trying to tell you that starting a business will be easy. It is a difficult endeavor, but it can be a worthwhile one. Starting a business will reveal things about yourself that you would have never believed. Becoming an entrepreneur gives you a sense of freedom that you will have a hard time finding anywhere else.

Skydiving is when you jump out of an airplane with a parachute strapped to your back. The feeling of freefalling at 12,000 feet is exhilarating. The 360-degree view of the world around you along with the wind whipping past your face is truly a rush to your senses. The range of emotions you feel while skydiving run the gamut from fear to anticipation, to exhilaration, to nausea, to awe, to fear again and then to satisfaction. These are the same emotions you feel as a business owner.

The first time you get paid to do something you love is exhilarating! When you are meeting a new customer for the first time the anticipation and fear are real, but the sense of satisfaction you get from a job well-done is something that you cannot imagine unless you've experienced it. Starting a business is a scary thing to do, but the positives outweigh the negatives. If your business doesn't take off and you are forced to shut down, you will always be able to say that you tried and that you made a difference in people's lives.

When people start businesses, our community gets the benefit! Businesses hire people which gives them the income they need to get their lives back on track. Businesses collect sales tax which helps contribute to our local tax base. The Gross Receipts Revenue that is collected by our community businesses helps to provide streets, sidewalks and the necessary infrastructure to have a safe environment where our residents can live and play. Businesses who hire employees become examples for other corporations to look at when they are deciding on expansion plans.

There are all sorts of good things that happen to our county when our economy is thriving. One of the most significant things that happens is that the Quality of Life for our residents is higher. A high Quality of Life means that you have lots of places to recreate and you have lots of people to interact with. Communities with thriving economies have better quality schools and better-quality educators to work in those schools. Communities with thriving economies have great people who live there, and those people attract more great people. Communities with thriving economies have lots of fun things to do and they have lots of services for children, the elderly and for marginalized citizens.

The key to developing a thriving economy starts with you! You have the power to turn this around by shopping locally and ordering locally, rather than online. You have the power to turn this around by doing business here in town and getting a job if you don't have one. There are plenty of businesses who are looking for workers who will show up and treat their customers right. The power is in your hands.

Here is my advice to you for how we are going to get back on track: Get up off your couch, turn off the television and go out and apply for one of the jobs that is open today. Make your plans to start new businesses and give people a reason to shop locally. Create a business that will create jobs for other people. If you need help with this, just call us at the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce.

You, and I, have the power to kick-start this economy. Let's do this!