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Natchez Inc. launching task force to prepare for future after COVID-19

Special to the Democrat

NATCHEZ — Natchez, Inc. announced Friday that they are launching a Taskforce to address a strategy to recover faster and stronger following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chandler Russ, Executive Director of Natchez, Inc. stated, “Historically, our area, during times of economic crisis, was slow leading into the crisis and even slower in recovery.  The economic ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is a completely different animal and I believe our ability to recover quicker and stronger is important to our future and the region at large.”

Russ continued by adding, “We’ve tried hard to capture most segments of our economy with the task force members and we are confident in the group’s ability to craft a strategy that will propel the area’s recovery effort so we are a leader in economic recovery.  Our successful efforts will have a long-lasting impact on our region and our ability to recover quickly, successfully and stronger is of paramount concern and focus.”

Natchez, Inc. knows the success of this strategy will come by working as a team; therefore, the initial 16-member taskforce will be led by Natchez, Inc and members will consist of local banks, area Chambers of Commerce, Business & Civic League, tourism, realtors, manufacturers, transportation, and other business leaders in the Miss Lou.

Sue Stedman, Owner of Crye-Leike Stedman Realtors and Chairman of Natchez, Inc. Board of Directors said, “If we are successful in implementing a regional economic recovery strategy, I believe we can be better and stronger on all fronts.  There will be great opportunity in the marketplace to recover lost jobs and diversify our local economy.  But, we must be open minded about the possibilities and most important, work together with a focused effort.”

Natchez, Inc. hopes the strategy that comes from this taskforce includes linking our business community to the financial assistance needed to get back into full operation.  Pat Biglane, President & CEO of Concordia Bank and Chairman of Natchez Now explained, “All banks are currently helping their business customers by providing loan modifications and extensions to give the businesses time and the funds needed to stay in business through this crisis.  Banks are also participating in the SBA Payment Protection Program which allows businesses access to funds to help hire their employees back and restart their business.  This program is designed to have banks loan the monies to the businesses, and if the business applies the funds received to rehire their personnel within a certain period of time, the loan turns into a grant.”  Biglane continued, “Banks are working overtime to try and help our local businesses.  We realize the importance of teamwork to help our customers, our friends, our community!”

Beginning next week, the task force will meet at least weekly via Zoom video conference to discuss a regional strategy to rebuild our economy following the stay home orders and the overall threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.