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Pandemic brings changes to Littleton Chamber


July 30, 2020
LITTLETON — Earlier this month the Littleton Regional Chamber of Commerce announced the suspension of the Executive Director position. The organization's Board of Directors stated that the decision to lay off Nathan Karol was a difficult one to make, and it would be in effect for the immediate future.

"By virtue of his position as Executive Director, Nathan was fully aware of the situation the Chamber faces, he agrees with the decision and the parting is very amicable. Through its all-volunteer board and our part-time administrative assistant, the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce continues to operate and have a strong presence in the business community as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic," noted the official statement.

Last week the organization issued another statement to address the growing concern about the Chamber's sustainability.

It said, "Like so many organizations throughout the world, the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce has experienced a drastic drop in revenue. Virtually all of our events and gatherings, which we count on for income, have been canceled in the last five months. It is fairly common knowledge that the Chamber is in financial trouble. The board is working actively to complete a plan for turning the chamber around and continuing our mission to serve the business community in the Littleton area."

When asked about future plans, Board President Bill Jolly said that the organization had been facing financial difficulty for some time. While he said the issues at hand were getting the proper attention, the global pandemic's onslaught put the organization into a dire position of uncertainty.

"We were unsure of where we were headed financially and we knew that our numbers right now were such that we couldn't sustain the operations as they were being done. We had to lay Nathan off purely for financial reasons. It was a long, arduous discussion and a very difficult decision for all members of the board. Nobody enjoyed it," noted Jolly.

Board members have been volunteering a substantial amount of their time to develop solutions and a forward path. To date, the Chamber includes a roster of approximately 275 member organizations from Littleton and the surrounding area.

Jolly said, "We've done a pretty good assessment of where things stand and will publish that information shortly. We have also been assessing what options we have. A lot of these options hinge on government programs. We are waiting to hear back about those programs before we know exactly what we have for a foundation to move forward."

When asked if Karol would return to his position as Executive Director in the immediate future, Jolly said the board members were not prepared to talk about it because they did not yet know what kind of funding they would secure.

He stated, "We will not make it without the support of both the townspeople and our current members."

Jolly continued, "One of the biggest things we would encourage people to do right now is focus their energy on working with local businesses that offer both products and services. Their success is one of the keys to our success."

The Chamber's Board anticipates knowing exactly where they stand financially within the next two weeks.

Jolly said, "We will then be able to ask for the help that we need from businesses and the townspeople."

"There's a lot of very exciting stuff going on in Littleton. We hope people will take advantage of what is so great about the community and enjoy what the town offers. Indirectly but tangibly it will help the Chamber, and the job of the Chamber is to help the businesses. Everybody will win," added the Board President.

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