A new year is often a fresh start, and one that many are looking forward to in 2021. The Kaufman Chamber of Commerce has had the absolute privilege of promoting our members through 2020 more than ever on social media through sharing specials, random interviews and videos. We plan on continuing this, as well as producing the new and improved Chamber Chat newsletter. Cindy Skinner joined the Chamber staff in March, just as everything hit. She has really enjoyed getting to know our members and will do more as2021 progresses. Each business member will be featured as the business of the week in the Chamber Chat newsletter as well as on Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, we will be working on some new shop local initiatives to continue to support our local businesses.
In January, the Chamber and EDC offices will move to the Kaufman Civic Center at 607 E. Fair St. This move will allow the Chamber to have a board room that will fit our Chamber Board as well as offer a space to rent out, both as a meeting spaceand as shared workspace as needed. The Chamber Banquet and Auction as well as Quarterly Membership Luncheons can be held in the adjacent Civic Center Space. Still Waters Pregnancy Center will move into the space that the Chamber is leaving on South Washington. This move benefits the Chamber, Still Waters and The Center, where their offices have been located.
As we move into 2021, our annual meeting and banquet, as well as the Business Expo, has been pushed back to April in the hope that we will be able togather in a safe manner. We will continue to celebrate this annual event with Kaufman Independent School District.
Speaking of Kaufman ISD, our commitment to working alongside KISD, Trinity Valley Community College and our major employers stays true. We have been in conversations with TVCC to focus on their future Workforce Center and how it will benefit our school and area businesses.
A strong Chamber of Commerce is involved with advocacy; representing our businesses interests with the local government(city, county, state and federal.) The Board would like to focus more strongly on this in 2021. The board will be apprised of any legislation that will impact our businesses, as well as any action that needs to be taken on their behalf.
Kaufman Economic Development Commission has focused on some behind-the-scenes projects recently, such as a drainage pipe behind the new Civic Center and Southwest Chevrolet that will positively impact future growth in that area. They also recently voted to help pay for alift station that will assist growth in the Kings Fort Development, including the new Tractor Supply store. Since May, the EDC has awarded $155,000 in Small Business Stimulus Grants to help our local businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. There are additional monies to distribute, and an application can be found on the EDC website at www.kaufmanedc.com.
Additionally, the EDC has helped businesses on the Kaufman Square and Central Business District with improvements to the outsides of their buildings; most recently, La Vaquera and Hydrangea House. We are looking forward to assisting with more improvements in 2021.
We will be doing a new Business Retention and Expansion program this year called 12 at 12. Each month, 12 businesses will be invited to a luncheon with the mayor and EDC executive staff to discuss the business climate in Kaufman and to address any concerns or improvement ideas.
The City of Kaufman and EDC are currently working on getting a new website developed to support the downtown, both current businesses on the square as well as setting the groundwork for new businesses to move in. Look for this in the months to come.
The Chamber and EDC are full of anticipation for 2021 and the changes and growth to come to Kaufman.