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Spring Hope Chamber of Commerce suffered during COVID-19 shutdown; 2020 Pumpkin Festival in limbo

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SPRING HOPE — The coronavirus pandemic and statewide shutdown have been rough on the Spring Hope Chamber of Commerce.

The situation is a far cry from early January when the chamber expected a robust year.

Everything has been slow due to the novel coronavirus, from membership to decisions about the Spring Hope National Pumpkin Festival to the Spring Hope License Plate Agency, chamber President Karen White said during an update to town commissioners at their most recent monthly meeting.

The chamber has 42 members, including eight new members, but White had high hopes the numbers would’ve been higher.

The chamber hasn’t been able to go out and recruit new members because the majority of Spring Hope’s small businesses have been closed for two months due to the statewide stay-at-home order, White said.

“That’s hurt us a lot,” White said, pointing out that the chamber also had to cancel its fundraising yard sale.

As far as the annual Pumpkin Festival held each October, White said the chamber is riding everything out to see whether it too will be canceled. She said she hopes to know in the next few months whether the chamber will or won’t host a festival this year.

“The LPA, we are struggling a little bit there,” White said.

The chamber operates the state-franchised license plate agency, which opened a year ago at 123 S. Ash St. The agency offers vehicle registration services, title transactions and vehicle license plate renewals, among other services.

An employee quit due to the coronavirus, White said, so the manager is having to pull double duty.

“We are one of the few LPAs in the area that’s still open,” White said. “So that’s kind of been a good thing for us. But we are still struggling financially. We’re not meeting expenses every month yet. Hopefully we will soon.”

The chamber has announced it’s looking for an experienced part-time clerical employee. The announcement states the new employee must be upbeat and adaptive to a fast-paced environment. The employee must be a North Carolina notary public. A background check and pre-employment drug screening is required. 

The deadline to apply is May 26. Anyone with questions about the position can call 252-565-2760.