Lisa DeKezel, president of OSF St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg and OSF Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth, said CARES act funding was critical last year when elective procedures and screenings were on hold. That situation affected operations and revenue, while healthcare providers needed to spend extra money on pandemic-related supplies. “The programs were successful and the money was well spent,” Pankau said. “It saved a lot of small businesses.” “Many rural hospitals would not be here without the funding,” DeKezel said.
Springer said KCAP turned its focus toward helping businesses and organizations get the emergency funding they needed. “Like other economic developers around the nation, as COVID took hold we all watched our 2020 project pipelines evaporate seemingly overnight,” said KCAP President Ken Springer. “Our work of helping companies launch, locate and grow was suddenly replaced with the grim task of simply helping our local companies survive.”
Ron Pankau, owner of a steel fabricating plant in Galva, said the government programs to help businesses such as forgivable PPP loans were a “godsend.” Leaders from the industries of transportation, tourism and hospitality, food production, healthcare and manufacturing discussed the adversity brought on by the pandemic and the innovations and assistance that helped them survive it.
Tim Foster of Innovative Production USA, which makes plant-based food ingredients, opened in June of last year in Galesburg, when everything was shut down. Foster said his small team had to adapt to Zoom meetings, but found that to be an efficient and effective business practice that will continue. But state laws changing to allow businesses to sell alcoholic beverages to go helped the business keep going, Grove said. While the tourism isn’t expected to make a full recovery until 2023, Grove said she is excited about a “supercharged rebound” headed for that industry.
“That all came to a halt,” Grove said. Jennie Grove, manager and event coordinator for Hidden Hills Vineyard and Winery in Knoxville, said the business is about socialization and the customer experience at the winery.
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