Clipper Strong Fund Committee distributes more than 200 care packages to Portsmouth small businesses
PORTSMOUTH – The Clipper Strong Fund Committee has distributed more than 200 Clipper Strong Care Packages to a variety of small Portsmouth businesses, from professionals’ offices to salons, from auto repair shops to healthcare advisors. Members of the Committee distributed the bags in person, canvassing each commercial area in the city, from Route 1 to the West End.
The distribution effort kicked off in response to requests received through the City’s firstname.lastname@example.org email with deliveries by members of the Committee and City Manager Karen Conard. The team continued to respond to individual requests for the Care Package as well as delivering to other small businesses in each area. In each case, they were met with enthusiasm and gratitude, with the recipients often stopping whatever they were doing (painting the front door, for example) to document the effort with a snapshot.
“So many business owners told us how important it was to have the PPE (personal protective equipment), hand sanitizer, signage and touchless thermometer in each bag to help them reopen to clients and customers,” said Clipper Strong Fund Committee co-chairs city councilors Esther Kennedy and John Tabor.
As intended the first Clipper Strong Fund initiative reached small businesses that might otherwise “fall through the cracks.” For example a local notary contacted the committee to say, “I have my own business as a mobile notary. I am going to begin to dip my toe into starting to conduct notarizations where I would go into people's homes, offices ... Do you have any care packages available?”
Another downtown shop owner wrote, “The Clipper Strong Care Bag was much appreciated. Re-opening has many challenges, as all businesses are enduring, but each token of help along the way means such a great deal. Thank you!”
Responding to the flyer the committee had sent to Seacoast Media Group subscribers, a local machine shop wrote, “We received your card in the mail offering free masks, etc. to Portsmouth businesses. We would love to be a recipient of this wonderful care package.”
The Clipper Strong Fund was created by Mayor Becksted in May to develop ways to build and administer a fund specifically designed to help Portsmouth’s very small businesses and entrepreneurs who might otherwise “fall through the cracks.” He also made the first personal donation to the fund. Since then the Fund has received donations large and small, including support from Granite State Development Corporation, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Newburyport Bank and Piscataqua Savings Bank.
The Fund is still seeking donations at ClipperStrong.org Donations in the form of a check may be mailed to the Clipper Strong Fund c/o Coastal Economic Development Corporation, 4 Merrill Industrial Drive, Suite 201, Hampton NH 03842.