Spartanburg task force shares ideas to boost local economy

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg’s Bringing Back the Burg Business Recovery Task Force will hold a press conference May 28 at 12:30pm at the Spartanburg Marriott to share ideas about how to help local businesses struggling amidst the coronavirus crisis.

During the media press conference, members of the task force say they will unveil a new partnership with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, focused on safe business operations.

They will also discuss details about the vital signs of Spartanburg County’s economy and a guidebook designed help Spartanburg businesses navigate resources and create plans for their workplaces.

Speakers include Chris Lombardozzi, Chief Medical Officer at Spartanburg Regional, Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt and Spartanburg Chamber President/CEO Allen Smith Task.

This comes just after the City of Spartanburg announced Wednesday that its Red, White and Boom festival, held July 4th annually, is canceled this year due to organizers not being able to maintain social distancing.

Assistant City Manager Mitch Kennedy made the announcement Wednesday after talking about the CDC’s guidelines for special events. The event draws a crowd of thousands annually to Barnet Park for live music, food and a firework display.

Business owners like Janneth Tamayo, who owns the restaurant Mezcal in downtown Spartanburg, said the cancelation of city-sponsored events like this will mean a significant loss in revenue.

“They bring in a crowd,” she said. “So this year, not being able to have those festivals is sad for all businesses just because it brings in that traffic.”

Christopher George with the City of Spartanburg said Tamayo is not alone.

“It’s definitely going to have an impact on them, the same as Spring Fling cancellation had an impact. They’ve suffered a lot of blows lately and we’ve tried to be creative in some of the ways to help them out by expanding dining on Morgan Square and things like that.”

The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce created the Bringing Back the Burg Business Recovery Task Force in early May to identify and address Spartanburg’s economic recovery needs. 

The task force, composed of sector leaders and experts, said it will guide and advise business and elected officials through the process of reviving Spartanburg’s economy as quickly and safely as possible.

Leaders said the main focuses of the task force are:

  • to identify key performance and economic indicators and develop a plan accordingly
  • to establish a business recovery fund and develop grant and loan criteria, and measure its impact
  • to research best practices to revive the economy and partner with the appropriate entities to implement those practices
  • and to explore opportunities for systemic change exposed by the pandemic to improve Spartanburg’s overall business environment

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