NEW BUFFALO — The New Buffalo Business Association looked back on a difficult 2020 while expressing hope for a more normal new year during its Annual Meeting held virtually via Zoom on Dec. 20.
President Audrey Tuszynski led the “strange, but pretty usual for this year, recap” of the NBBA’s 2020. She said COVID has “completely changed our train of thought on what we are as a business association.”
Tuszynski said the first event cancelation occurred in April when the Easter egg hunt the NBBA sponsors with American Legion Post 169 was called off.
From there the focus shifted from planning summer events to helping businesses deal with the pandemic.
Tuszynski said Blagica Bottigliero was serving as NBBA president at the time (she moved out of town later in the year) and “she was so, so good at all of the small business information – the grants, the PPP – all of the small-business aid that we really needed.”
Tuszynski said people from surrounding communities also reached out to the NBBA, and the organization’s social media platforms became a way to share information.
She said “a lot of our community members and residents were not happy” with adjustments made to the New Buffalo Farmers Market to avoid having hundreds of people gathering downtown.
“We hope to have that stuff back to a little bit of normalcy by next summer.”
Tuszynski said costs were cut by the elimination the executive director and Farmers Market director positions to save about $10,000 a year.
“We as a board really took control of our social media, our emailing, our phone calls – everything that our executive director did (our last one was fantastic at this job),” she said.
Tuszynski said the NBBA also printed and began distributing tear-off maps featuring local businesses in August of 2020; hosted Facebook Live videos (currently taking place about twice a month and kept accessible on the NBBA Facebook page); gained more than 1,000 social media followers from the previous year and are constantly posting information about and from local businesses.
Introduced during the Annual Meeting were the following 2021 NBBA Board members:
President – Audrey Tuszynski, Gold Coast Yacht Management; Vice President – Abby Voss, The False Front; Treasurer – Traci Lauricella, ReMax of Harbor Country; Secretary – Tuszynski; board members – Wesley Moguel, Moguel Photography; Dawn Fadden, Pristine Pool and Spa; Gary Wood; Lisa Werner, The New Buffalo Inn and Spa.
Fadden (who was treasurer in 2020) presented the financial report through Nov. 30 showed a total balance of $10,252.02.
“We do have money to start the next season, and we’re hoping for 2021 to be a greater year,” she said.
Tuszynski said goals for the upcoming year include: getting a new ex officio member from the City Council; continue Facebook live sessions and community outreach; restart events including the Farmers Market on Thursday evenings; create member highlight videos; and make it possible for members to customize their pages on the newbuffalo.org website.
The organization’s Mission Statement was read by Werner as follows: “The NBBA is a partnership of business and community members who share a common goal to promote healthy business growth in New Buffalo through activities and events”
Lauricella said she’s looking forward to resuming some normal events in 2021.
“This group is focused on in-season every season, and I’m excited to a part of the business association again,” said Werner, who noted that she was part of the NBBA when it first opened.
Moguel is looking forward to using the “really weird year” of 2020 as a jumping off point for growth and changing things for the better.
Wood noted that he is excited to get involved and really help businesses the community.
Fadden said she encourages everyone to join the NBBA.
“We’re trying to keep everything going for all businesses,” she said.