Free PPE kits for over 100 Keweenaw businesses organized quickly.

Vault Hotel business owner Jen Julien partners with Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce and Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau to quickly solve small business challenge.

Small retailers have undoubtably been hit the hardest during the Coronavirus pandemic. Most business owners have lost three months of revenue and depleted all of their cash. Last week’s announcement to reopen the Upper Peninsula was great news but comes with social distancing requirements – adding costs to pay for items like PPE while still limiting sales. Adding to these pressures, many of the PPE items can be challenging to find.

As offices, bars, restaurants, and retail begins to open in the Keweenaw, the health and safety of the community remains at the forefront. Vault Business owner and community leader Jennifer Julien took the lead and is partnering with Superior National Bank and Brad Barnett, Director of Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau, to purchase and assemble Reopen Kits over 100 small businesses. The kits will include mandatory supplies like face masks, hand sanitizer and signage.

The concept became reality when Superior National Bank stepped up to fund the entire program. Additionally, local organizations like the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau (KCVB), and Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) stepped up with communication and distribution support.

Julien said, “Many of our small businesses are absolutely drained of cash at this point. The provision of some basic supplies to help them get open and comply with the state requirements is a big deal to them. For our community, the protection provided by the kits means thousands of transactions can now be conducted safely in these businesses.” The kits will include items like disposable face masks, food service grade gloves, disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, checklists and more.

Businesses interested in a starter kit can contact the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce by email at info@keweenaw.org or call (906) 482-5240.​

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