Chamber Trying to Help Local Businesses - 8 News NOW

Chamber Trying to Help Local Businesses

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LAS VEGAS -- The last two and a half years have been a difficult and painful period for small businesses in Las Vegas, as they struggle to stay afloat. But the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is launching a campaign that uses the community to help cure their crisis.

"If we do that and you spend your money here, then they'll have more money to hire people and that will begin the comeback," said LVCC president & CEO Matt Crosson. "It won't solve everything in one fell swoop, but it will begin the comeback."

Small business owners can get advice, get access to credit and can have successful business models at their fingertips.

The chamber says nearly 80-percent of local jobs are created by small businesses. But like a lot of businesses, they're hurting. That's why the new Viva Las Business campaign is there to help.

Mexican food is what Bob Ansara does best. He's served customers at Ricardos for about 30 years, only to have the recent economy eat away nearly $1 million in profits.

"We have learned to operate the business with 30-percent less revenue," said Ansara.

That meant layoffs, less health benefits for the 63 employees left and cutting back wherever he can. Aside from being the owner, he takes on any role just to stay open.

"We get that four-wall syndrome, where we're so focused on doing the business that we don't take the time to work on the business," he said.

The chamber says small business owners are in the fight of their lives. The newly unveiled Viva Las Business campaign is aimed at helping them succeed in person, online with a forum where they can get successful business advice and on billboards around the valley convincing customers to buy from them.

"I think the spirit of that, keeping money in Las Vegas, is the right thing at the right time," said Ansara.

The chamber is offering a comeback kit to help businesses survive, strengthen, and grow. Don Robinson thinks there's an appetite for the concept.

"More people need to know about the local businesses -- everyone's on the street. They need to come out to the local businesses and support the locals. It's what I do," said customer Don Robinson.

"The economy has been one bad piece of news after another for 30 months now. The chamber is ready for that to be over," said Ansara.

Eyeing success with the chamber's help, Ansara continues to serve his customers. But now, with confidence, knowing he's not alone.

Beginning next month, the chamber will give out 250,000 rewards cards to the community that offers special discounts and deals to shop at local businesses. The hope is that once you shop there, you'll get hooked, giving a huge boost to our economy.

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