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Main Street Steering Committee looks to assist small businesses

As businesses in downtown Lehighton continue to reacclimate themselves following a three-plus-month shutdown, it’s important that they devise a plan to sustain themselves into the future.

That was one of the key discussion points during a meeting of the Lehighton Main Street Steering Committee held Monday at the Lehighton Outdoor Center, which had representation from the center, as well as Jenny’s Sweets and More.

The gathering - in which the focus was on assisting small businesses in the area following the recent green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 reopening plan - marked the committee’s first in-person meeting since February.

Jerry McAward, owner of the Lehighton Outdoor Center, suggested the idea for the committee to host a roundtable discussion among a variety of Lehighton owned small businesses facilitated by steering committee members.

McAward described his vision for the roundtable discussion, adding, “We’re not going to complain bitterly, let’s just talk.

“I don’t know anything about salons, but I know about surviving and building something,” McAward said.

“Maybe I have some pearl of wisdom that would help them, and maybe the salon has some kind of wisdom that would make me think, ‘Wow, I never thought of that before.’?”

It was evident that the aftermath of COVID-19 has caused a great deal of fear and anxiety regarding security among small businesses, and hosting a roundtable discussion with such a variety of local businesses could ease these concerns and allow business owners to grow and learn from each other.

Jennifer Solt-Cerato, owner of Jenny’s Sweets and More, also praised the idea of the roundtable event.

Solt-Cerato said she believes that “coming together and being invited to come together” is a great way to combat the feeling of loneliness that business owners feel following the events of COVID-19.

She also said suggested reaching out to other business owners even after the end of the roundtable meeting.

While it was agreed that the events of COVID-19 were unprecedented, the steering committee is working hard with local businesses to come together and overcome the aftereffects.

Members and local business owners are hopeful to achieve further community progress at the roundtable meeting, according to borough Manager Nicole Beckett, who also serves as committee chairwoman.

“The recommendation was what can we do as a committee to offer business owners an opportunity to talk,” Beckett said.

“They can share ideas as to what they’re doing now and what they’re going to continue to do for survival into the new year.”

The Business Owners Roundtable event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 27 at the Lehighton Outdoor Center. Business owners are welcome and encouraged to attend.

A look at downtown Lehighton on Wednesday morning. The Lehighton Main Street Committee met Monday with the intent to assist small businesses in the area following the recent green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 reopening plan. A Business Owners Roundtable has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 27 at the Lehighton Outdoor Center. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS