Let's get started

I first shared this photo last April.
It appeared in one of the earliest editions of what became this entirely unplanned daily newsletter -- shortly after what was supposed to be a two week state-ordered shut-down of all non-essential businesses.
Reibman'sIt’s a picture of my dad’s children’s clothing store on East Main Street in Torrington Connecticut.
Around the corner, on Main Street, my grandmother, aunt and uncle operated Kay’s Curtain Shop.
An hour drive away, in Middletown, was Kabachnick, my other uncle’s clothing store.
Retail was in our blood. It’s pretty much all the grown-ups talked about at family get togethers.
My brothers, sisters and I spent Saturdays and vacations working in those various shops too – putting price tags on merchandise, taking out the trash, sweeping floors -- long before we were legally old enough to do so.
Reibman'sAfter hours, we played hide and seek among the racks of clothes as our dad, a chamber of commerce guy, punched numbers into his adding machine or wrote the occasional letter to the editor.
Their stores closed years ago. That generation has passed on.
But I’ve thought of my dad and the rest of that side of my family pretty much every time I talked with our small business owners who were frightened and overwhelmed -- yet determined, so incredibly determined -- to preserve their livelihoods during this pandemic.
I thought of their employees too, knowing how it would have broken my dad’s heart if he wasn’t able to keep providing them with a paycheck.
Tomorrow, Massachusetts' economy fully reopens
Tomorrow our long recovery begins.
I have so much admiration for you -- our business owners, our nonprofit leaders, our managers and our workers -- who battled and preserved through this remarkable time.
I have so much gratitude to every one of you who shared your stories, who trusted us as a source of information and as a safe place to commiserate.
And I can’t believe how many of you paid your chamber dues even when you had little or no revenue.
Rebuilding and rebounding won’t be quick. It won’t be easy. It’s not certain.
Together as a community we have a lot of work to do. 
Let’s get started. 
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
P.S. If you haven't competed our survey yet, please do so. It closes tonight at midnight. See you Tuesday.

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