GCACC Business Connection Spring Issue

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BUSINESS BUSINESS CONNECTION CONNECTION Grove City Area Chamber VOL.9, ISSUE 2 GCCHAMBER.ORG Foundation News “Our Members Say”: Best time management tools Non Profit Spotlight: Giving back to our neighbors
Population: 42,757* Median Age: 40.1 Population Over 18: 79.5% Population Over 65: 17.7% Number of Households: 18,469* Median Home Value: $244,151 Average Income Per Household: $111,247 Nearest Intermodal Facility: Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) and Norfolk Southern Rickenbacker Intermodal Want to learn more about the demographics of Grove City? Visit our resources online CHAMBER BUSINESS CONNECTION APRIL 2024 | 3 Member Spotlights Non-Profit/Chamber Supports Logan Co. News Bits across the GCACC Recent Ribbon Cuttings Time Management Tips Chamber Foundation News Our Members Say WELEAD: Preview & Meet the Presenters Meet Kiddie Academy From the Editor’s Desk Letter from the President Member Anniversaries A special note from Shawn Conrad Welcome new and celebrate current members 7 8 9 10 12 20 6 5 11 14 18 24 IN THIS ISSUE: CHAMBER DESK CITY DEMOGRAPHICS *Population and number of households data is publishedbyMORPC. The remainderof the demographicsare estimates provided by Esri. Please note thatall of thesefigures are2022 estimates, asthis is themostrecent estimate published by MORPC.

The OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital campus includes 24/7 emergency care, heart and vascular care, and primary care from OhioHealth Physician Group. It’s just another way we’re bringing your best health within reach.

To learn more about the ways OhioHealth cares for Grove City, visit OhioHealth.com/GroveCity.

© OhioHealth Inc. 2019. All rights reserved. FY19-37248. 03/19. Grove City
71 270 Stringtown Rd P a r k w a y C e n t r e D r B u c k e y e P k w y T a r g e t J a c k s o n P i k e H
Methodist Hospital (Located behind Target)


Chamber Business Connections is published bi-monthly by the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce with revenue from member dues, advertising, and sponsorship. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the content in this publication, by any method or purpose whatsoever, without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Only chamber members can advertise in Chamber Business Connection. To plan advertising contact the chamber.

Your Board

Katie Antry Fleming Board Chair

Chris Moscato Immediate Past Chair

Mellissa Forte Board Chair Elect

Greg Dawkins GC Chamber Foundation President

Nick Connaughton Chair of Finance

Jeffrey Buskirk Chair of Government Relations

Ed Fleming Board Member

Nikki Fleming Board Member

Lenny Frazzitta Board Member

Cathy Frederick Board Member

Brittany Hannigan Board Member

Amanda McCullouch Board Member

Brenda Newman Board Member

Carol Riffle Board Member

Andrea Ruede Board Member


President / CEO

Shawn Conrad

Events Manager

Marilyn Reiner

Events Operations and Marketing

Heather Brokaw

Member Services and Marketing

Kaziah Conrad

Letter from the President

This year is moving quickly and the GCACC has been working on lots of exciting plans for our members and our community.

Our multi-award-winning Winning Farmers’ Market is just around the corner. We will have a Special intro to the Market when we join the fun at Grove City’s EcoFest on April 20th. Our spring market kicks off on May 11th with our ‘Mother’s Day Market’. Shop for that very special gift for Mom – or bring Mom! Our full Market will run through September 14th and all of the vendors that you love, along with some exciting new vendors, will be set up in the heart of our Town Center every Saturday morning from 8 am until noon with fruit, veggies, pasta, sauces, jams and jellies, coffee, cheese, eggs, poultry, beef, pork, freshcut flowers, baked goods, treats for your pets, and much, much more!! While you’re at the Farmers’ Market, shop our downtown merchants and grab a bite or a snack from one of our restaurants.

We will be hosting our 12th Annual WE: LEAD Women’s Business Forum on May 8th, and the Chamber Open will follow in July. In September we’ll celebrate the 45th edition of Arts in the Alley and the 35th Community Parade. Rounding out the year is the Foundation Fundraiser in October along with Boo of Broadway.

In between Signature events, be sure and watch for Success in :60 networking events, After Hours, Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings, Young Professionals events, events with special presenters and …. Well, the list goes on! Follow along by viewing our calendar.

We love hearing from our members, please stop in, call, or send a message!

Thanks, from your team:

Shawn, President

Marilyn, Events Manager

Heather, Events and Marketing

Kaziah, Member Services and Marketing

CHAMBER BUSINESS CONNECTION APRIL 2024 | 5 The Chamber Business Connection is published by Katbro LTD

Celebrating Anniversaries


Minutemen Staffing

Endure Aesthetics & Wellness

The TEAM Management

Nate's Great Plumbing

Repeta Transport

Ignyte Financial


Lionheart Detailing-Paint Protection Film & Ceramic Coating


Mosaic Life Creative

Hydration Nation

Red Wing Shoes Grove City


Darlene Murphy

Home Instead

L&V Bookkeeping


Comparion Insurance

Kiddie Academy of Grove City

Grove City Summit

Creative Home Solutions

Remember Me Gifts

Petsuites of America Grove City

ZCI General Contracting

Freddys Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

Best Value Cleaning Services

G Brands

Taz Tires 3

Bone Dry Roofing

Butterfly Boutique



Nancy Day-Achauer


JL Local


M.A. Sounders, Inc.

Strategic Payroll Solutions

Auto Plus

Silco Fire & Security

Parr Public Safety

Terra Michelle & Co Artisan Hair Boutique

Highland Protection

Starr Spine Physical Therapy and Wellness

Homestead Village


Manheim Ohio

Magnolia Dental


Putt N Play Family Fun Center

Attention new Chamber members!

Don’t forget that your GCACC membership includes one free half-page ad for this publication, the Chamber Business Connection, so don’t miss out on running your ad in one of the upcoming 2024 issues.

Ads due on the 15th of the month prior to publication. Issues publish in even-numbered months.

All ads can be submitted digitally via email to Heather, heather@gcchamber org

Need an ad? E-magazine creative team KatBro can lend a hand contact content@katbroconsulting com

The Chamber online calendar: https://business.gcchamber.org/events/calendar




Enjoy a fun day this spring and summer as family, or have an unforgettable birthday party at the Putt n Play Family Fun Center right here in Grove City, just off of I-71 and Stringtown Rd. They were closed for winter, but will be back in action soon with miniature golf, batting cages, soccer cages, and of course food options. Stay tuned to their Facebook page (@PuttNPlay) for all spring opening details.

4021 Thistlewood Dr, Grove City




Best Value Cleaning invites you to rediscover your time and a sparkling clean home with their locally-owned cleaning business. Their trained, respectful team members have an eye for detail and also have a focus on being eco-friendly and non-toxic products safe for your family. Their three types of services include the standard clean, the deep clean, and the moving clean—ideal for leaving a residence better than when you moved in.




Newly opened on Stringtown Road, PetSuites offers boarding, daycare, grooming, and training (including puppy kindergarten) for your furry, four-legged family members A loyalty program, referral program, and mobile app add to the customer experience, in addition to a staff devoted to your fur-riend just as you are GCACC members can get to know them better by dropping by on April 12 for the official opening and ribbon cutting

1280 Stringtown Rd, Grove City 380-666-2753

grovecity petsuitesofamerica com/


Giving Back to Our Neighbors

We love our non-profit members, and we’ll share about them shortly, but we can’t have a page about supporting the community and not first express our gratitude for everyone who supported the item donation drive for Logan County as they recover from tornado damage that occurred in late February.

Quickly, this effort came together with the help of our friends within the city of Grove City and at E.E. Ward Moving and Storage. E.E. Ward served as a donation drop-off site (in addition to our own office/garage here on Broadway) and additionally contributed the time, labor, and a truck for delivering all collected items.

On somewhat short notice, Grove City showed up for Logan County! Contributions of all sizes came from all sorts of places as the community banded together to take care of another community as if they were our own. Can you spot Chamber Office team member Kaziah in the second photo at the right?

The Logan County communities have a long road to recovery, and if interested in continuing to ‘show up’ for them, we encourage you to ask around and reach out. If we hear of anything in Grove City, we’ll likely share it on our Facebook page.

There’s also a chance one of our many Chamber-member non-profits may be working alongside our northern neighbors as they recover. At time of print, we have nothing definite.

Additionally, as spring approaches we’re certain any number of our non-profits who have physical property to beautify may appreciate the help in tending to the yard, while our organizations with a sport focus, such as Buddy Ball, would love to see you at the game!

All of our non-profits can be found within our Member Directory and we encourage using keywords to narrow your search for the best results: https://business.gcchamber.org/list

Lastly, we would like to return to focusing on a single non-profit organization, but we need your help to learn more about our non-profit members! If you are a leader or active member of one of our many non-profit members, please fill out this short form so that we can share a little of your story in a future issue:



Bits of news from across the GCACC!

The 2024 Farmers’ Market season will kick off next month on May 11, which is also Mother’s Day weekend. Plenty of details are still to come this month, so follow along on Facebook or visit the Farmers’ Market website to stay up to date on your favorite vendors and other special happenings: https://www.gcchamber.org/farmers-market/

The Farmers’ Market still has some room for sponsors, and definitely room for volunteers! These are both fantastic opportunities for your business to be seen for months, and is a great way to get out to meet and interact with our community. The images below marked for volunteering & sponsoring are linked to their respective webpages.

The Grove City Texas Roadhouse recently celebrated their legendary meat cutter Marcelino, who placed in the Top 25 at the National Meat Cutters Competition held in Kansas City Skilled meat cutting at the restaurant level allows for the freshest and best possible cuts of meat to be cooked to order for guests. Congrats, Marcelino!

Forge Biologics was pleased to announce that lead program FBX-101 has been granted Innovation Passport designation in the UK. FBX-101 is Forge’s novel gene therapy for the treatment of patients with Krabbe Disease. Per Cleveland Clinic, NIH and Mount Sinai, Krabbe Disease is a rare genetic disorder of the nervous system. Congratulations to all who have had a hand in this breakthrough work!

Stay Connected and visit our Calendar of Events



Spring is an exciting time for new businesses in Grove City! The GCACC celebrated milestones for the following businesses coming to or now open in Grove City:

On March 12, ground was broken on Buckeye Parkway to begin construction on Freddy’s Steakburgers. In joining the Chamber as construction begins, they’re getting a jump start on community involvement and we look forward to watching and celebrating their progress.

On March 16, Kiddie Academy Grove City celebrated with a ribbon cutting to celebrate the business. Located on Buckeye Parkway (across the street/driveway from Freddy’s), they also held a special STEM day for kids. Learn more about them in this issue.

On March 26, Red Wing held a ribbon cutting celebration to mark their store opening. Located 1720 Stringtown, the well-known brand for work shoes and similar apparel is now part of the Grove City community.

Ready to celebrate your business with an open house, ribbon cutting, anniversary party, or other milestone event? Reach out to the Chamber office today by phone at 614-875-9762, and click here to fill out the event planning form.



Thanks to the participation in the first-ever “Our Members Say” question last issue, we’re back again this issue with a new question and of course new answers. As we get into spring and even the conclusion of the school year, time management can get a little more challenging, so we thought we’d reach out to members to share their thoughts!

Digital calendar tools received some love, but so did some non-digital tips as well. Read on to see what our members say about time management.

Question of the Month: Tell Us Your Best “Time Management” Tip

I use the Google Calendar tool daily. I am able to share my schedule with managers and see important departmental items, too. This helps me keep track of meetings, events, calls, and many other tasks. Having a tool that I am able to access at work and home are important to me so I can prepare and keep myself organized, always.

3 time blocking methods to boost productivity

Time blocking is the best tool I've started using for myself, hands down. In order to prioritize working on myself or my business, I block out entire sections of my day to make sure I'm not tempted to schedule any meetings or appointments that disrupt the flow of my work.

-Trey Kauffman, Mosaic Life Creative, Owner

Gettingeverythingonthecalendar, nomatterthetask.
-ClaireUwamahirwe,BestValue CleaningServices

My Clickup Project Management Tool is a lifesaver. It offers recurring tasks to remind me what needs to be done on a frequent basis. I can organize it by due date, area of focus, or anything else. We use it for the whole team so it helps me delegate work to others and has great reporting features. You can also track time cost, see any list as a calendar of due dates, and so many visual options that helps everyone lay out their work in a delightfully visually appealing way.

-Alex Varney, Pinnacle Pets Play & Stay - VP of Operations

I love everything Google for business!

-Tiffany Berger, Breathworx614, Breathwork + Trauma Healing

Google Calendar for personal, Outlook Calendar for work, setting reminders/alarms on my phone to keep me on task and not let anything slip through the cracks.

I start every day by logging what I want and need to accomplish that day. This list is generally a little more than I can handle and check off as much as I can. Usually my days and weeks are more productive by doing this.


Time Management Tips

similar communications as a whole lot of “quick checks” add up and a special time for email can allow us to focus on thoughtful replies.

Now in the spirit of time blocking, do you find yourself doing the opposite and multi-tasking? Multi-tasking can get us into trouble by dividing our attention and perhaps mixing projects or tasks that shouldn’t be mixed. Some of my magazine tasks do flow together like multi-tasking, so I only have so much room to speak! If you do multi-task, make it something that goes together like milk and cookies.

Sometimes, multi-tasking leads to distractions, so now’s a great time to consider how you work against the distractions. While no one contributed this tip, a popular one for several years has been to put your phone in airplane mode when you need to focus. Many other workplace and time management apps and platforms have a form of “focus time” whether it’s a timer or it holds all messages for the block of time. And, sometimes we may need to plan for our distractions such as if our office is doing renovations, or if you work from home and your four-legged intern will spend all day barking at the planned street work. Plan around those predicted distractions so you can still have a productive day.

Last tip—and it can be hard one for many! Delegate. Ask a co-worker for the assist. This not only eases the burden on ourselves, but it allows our team members to showcase their skills and we can show we trust them to excel. If you have a team (and an excellent team, like our emagazine team) behind you, divide up those tasks based on time and skill and watch the magic happen.

Our time management tactics are also always changing based on our goals, workload, and even season of life. So if you had a rough day or even rough week with balancing time, take a moment to regroup and try a new tactic—maybe even a tip from one of our members!


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The GCACC is thrilled to announce the upcoming WE:LEAD Women's Business Forum scheduled for May 8 at the Aladdin Shrine Center in Grove City. Women professionals from diverse industries are excitedly registering for this event, and we anticipate an enriching day of learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Our lineup of speakers includes keynote speaker Jen Kelley, and presenters Sue Hiser, Amy Ankerson, and Alex Varney. All four will offer valuable insights and inspiration to all attendees.

WE:LEAD Women’s Business Forum wouldn’t possible without sponsor. Thank you to our sponsors who have committed by the time of this issue’s publication: Eldorado Scioto Downs, Air Quality Solutions, and HealthMarkets.

Ready to register? Visit the WE:LEAD website: https://www.gcchamber.org/wbf/

As our speakers and presenters play a crucial role in the Forum, we are excited to introduce all four of them ahead of the event. In addition to their bios and topic descriptions, we have conducted quick Q&A sessions with each of them. Keep reading to learn more!

The Women's Business Forum has been a catalyst for leaders across diverse industries and markets to converge, fostering networking, knowledge-sharing, and resource exchange. Each year, our presenters and keynote speakers embody the theme with excellence. We are thrilled to advance WE:LEAD, uniting generations of women for this transformative experience.


What message do you hope attendees will take home from you?

I am hoping attendees are empowered to navigate generational differences effectively, leverage the strengths of each generation, and create inclusive workplaces where all women can succeed.

You’re an attendee too, what do you hope to learn from others?

I am always moved by the personal stories of struggle and strength that have brought these speakers to where they are today. From women breaking down barriers, to the fearless nature of those who continue to fall but never fail to get back up, I just love being inspired by those for whom "quit" and "failure" are never options.

Meet Sue Hiser: As an Organizational Effectiveness professional, a corporate facilitator, speaker, and a certified leadership coach - Sue Hiser’s roles have focused on change for the individual, the team, and the organization. Central to all of these changes is the need for transformation at all levels, but never has transformation and awareness been as important as it now at the individual level. Leadership is needed without a formal title to address future needs.

Her education includes an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Administration. Professionally she has worked in multiple industries including: wellness, executive recruiting, outplacement, information technology, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Sue is originally from Upstate New York, married and has two dogs. She loves to read, write, travel, and exercise. She has written three books, and is getting ready to publish her fourth book, ‘Travel Far, Journey Deep’.

Marketing at Scioto Downs and later serving as the Regional Vice President of Marketing for the Central Region within Caesars. In May of 2021, Amy stepped into the General Manger role at Scioto Downs, the first female to hold the title of SVP/GM at the property.

As General Manager, Amy oversees all the day-to-day operations of Scioto Downs, encompassing a team of over 400 team members with an operation consisting of over 2,100 VLT machines, live harness racing from May-September, a brick and mortar sportsbook and three food and beverage outlets, soon to be 4 with the addition of Guy’s Trattoria, a celebrity chef restaurant patterned with Guy Fieri. This will be Guy Fieri’s first Italian inspired food outlet.

In May of 2021, less than a week after becoming General Manager, Amy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She overcame the illness after enduring months of chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries. Along with being a mother and wife, she was also able to add survivor to her list of accomplishments in life. In her spare time Amy enjoys coaching her children in sports and when time allows, she can be seen cruising the backroads of Ohio on her Heritage Classic Harley Davidson motorcycle.

We’ll hear “The Woman in the Arena” from Amy, which she provided us a short preview. Amy shares her experience of being a female leader in a predominantly male lead industry, being a wife and mother, all when breast cancer challenged her in multiple ways.

Why do you think it’s important women come together for events like the WE:LEAD Forum? To share experiences, network and build connections and realize that we are all more alike and have so many similarities than we all think.

What message do you hope attendees will take home from you? Life is tough, but so are you. In most instances when you think it might be so easier to give up or throw in the towel, that is where you have the ability to prove yourself. Most people are so much more capable of doing the unexpected than they think.

You’re an attendee too, what do you hope to learn from others? To hopefully see that I am not in this alone. I don't want to hear about how someone has it all together, but I want to hear and share real, raw stories that life is hard, but it's how you choose to overcome challenges in day to day life.

Caring for and Teaching Grove City’s Next Generation

Meet Kiddie Academy, one of the many businesses who now call Grove City home, or one of their homes While Kiddie Academy has locations across the US (and in Hawaii!), each location is unique to its town We met up with some of the team behind Kiddie Academy, who have expansive experience in education, childcare, and even Kiddie Academy itself

The Business

Brand new to Grove City (right down to the building), Kiddie Academy on Buckeye Parkway opened its doors for children in late January, and in mid-March celebrated their new business

Mahmudur Rahman, along with his wife, bring ample business and Kiddie Academy experience to Grove City’s location The couple began their Kiddie Academy owner/operator journey 16 years ago in establishing the Lewis Center location, the first in the Midwest

Mahmudur told us at that time he and his wife were looking to change careers from engineering and education respectively, and jumping into business would be their next move In determining what kind of business they would open or operate, they remembered Kiddie Academy from their days of living and working in New York With the franchise model, they could open a location of a business they were familiar with and bring it to a new part of the country

Owner Wahida Sultana is newer to this role in business but is certainly no stranger to the care and nurturing of children as education has essentially been her life’s work. She’s taught in public schools and began her career in education teaching pre-school Wahida is soaking in this new avenue of education as she continues to connect with families and children, with a smile she says she only misses ‘the breaks’ from the public school system

Teachers don’t go forgotten at Kiddie Academy between the support from location leadership, to the parents and children Mahmudur discussed how teachers with Kiddie Academy will receive training specific to their curriculum to aid them in carrying out their daily work. He noted it can be challenging to hire and retain teachers, making it important to make sure teachers have what they need and feel appreciated

“Make sure each one is happy,” he said of ensuring teachers, and parents, are satisfied with Kiddie Academy


As Mahmudur mentioned and then Wahida showed us, bulletin boards allow space for sharing teacher recognition submitted by parents Some may come in the form of an email or message sent from the parent, other times it might be a note of a compliment a parent provided in person or over the phone

Kiddie Academy Grove City continues to hire as it continues to grow in numbers as word gets around of the care and education they provide. Mahmudur estimates they’ll have created 25-30 jobs once they are closer to or at capacity for children, which is just over 150

The Education & Childcare Experience

Kiddie Academy has its own developmentally-appropriate curriculum for the varying age groups of children they serve (as young as six weeks and as old as age 12 for after school care). With plenty of hands-on learning, children will grow in independence, develop and fine-tune motor skills, and grow in experience with the other children

Assorted enrichment classes are available that focus in on specific areas such as art or music Specialty days are also available, such as the recent STEM event Kiddie Academy’s team all looks forward to warmer weather where special guests can visit and learning expand into the community

Kiddie Academy makes use of technology available and utilizes the Tadpole app This app serves as another connection between teachers and parents, allowing teachers to share updates and other notifications During our visit, the parents who came still engaged in good, old-fashioned face-to-face conversation with their child’s teacher and even Wahida herself.

Health and safety are paramount at Kiddie Academy Teachers and staff are up to date on health policies and trainings, and the buildings and outdoor grounds feature assorted safety features Features range from ‘buzzing in’ to visit, how to access the play area, and even safe surfaces and structures of play equipment

Blending health with child development is meal time. Kiddie Academy includes two snacks and lunch But, it’s not just “what” children eat, but also “how” Mahmudur and Wahida shared that children ages three and up will dine family style with their peers This allows children to learn how to serve themselves, make food choices, and is ample opportunity to work on table manners

From the dining table, to the classroom space, to the playground, children enrolled in the future, and the children already in attendance at Grove City’s Kiddie Academy foster new friendships and building life skills that will serve them well for their elementary school years and beyond We closed out our visit and chat with Wahida out on the playground as a pre-school aged group enjoyed the surprise March sunshine As it was time for one child to head home, the group all exchanged goodbyes and their eagerness to play again another day.

And then the departing youngster called back “Bye friends!” displaying the skills and friendships developed at Kiddie Academy in just two words

Want to learn more about Kiddie Academy in Grove City? Visit: kiddieacademy com/academies/grove-city/


Scholarships Season

2024 is well underway for the Grove City Chamber Foundation as the first scholarship deadline has passed. Applications for the High School Scholarship and the first quarter Chamber Affiliate Scholarship are currently under review and recipients will be announced later this month.

It’s almost Farmers’ Market season again, and the Foundation will once again set up to sell Silverbridge Coffee in support of scholarships. Farmers’ Market will kick off on Saturday May 11 (check out the Farmers’ Market article in this issue for more information).

Prior to Farmers’ Market, the Foundation will have Silverbridge Coffee for sale at Grove City’s EcoFest on Saturday April 20. Many other activities will be available—to learn more visit the EcoFest event website here.

In June, applications for Renewing Scholarships and the second quarter of Chamber Affiliate Scholarships will be due Friday June 14. We also plan to have online ticket sales for our signature fundraising event, Fall for the Foundation, open by June. Fall for the Foundation will be held later this fall on Saturday October 11.

The Foundation seeks support year-round and would love to have you or your business join in supporting. Learn more at: https://gcchamberfoundation.org/ways-to-support/


Editor’s note: This article comes from the Sedgwick online blog. Sedgwick is GCACC’s partner in workers compensation matters, which you can learn more about directly from our rep, Julia Bowling: julia.bowling@segwick.com In full disclosure, this article originally also covered the FMLA landscape, but with no Ohio-specific mentions, we opted to not run that section and focus on ADA compliance and communicating ADA needs. Click here to read the full version.

According to the landmark American with Disabilities Act (ADA), the first-of-its-kind federal law enacted in 1990 that protects the rights of disabled workers, employers must provide accommodations to their employees with disabilities unless those accommodations would present an “undue hardship” to the employer. One argument for undue hardship relies on costs.

Costs, however, are rarely deemed a legitimate undue hardship defense. If an employer uses that defense to justify rejecting an accommodation request, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and relevant state agencies would likely analyze the company’s economic standing in totality, and the employer would be obligated to prove the burden is sufficiently met. In most cases, the menial cost of, say, an assistive device or a particular ergonomic desk setup, would likely come far from qualifying as an undue hardship in the larger scheme of the organization’s operations. Even in cases when an accommodation-related expense item is costly, employers should not use the cost element as a go-to crutch to reject requests.

Employers do have a range of low-to-no-cost accommodation alternatives at their disposal that can effectively keep an employee on the job, such as greater schedule flexibility, which includes additional or extended breaks. Employers often find this option difficult to stomach, as it can be argued that reasonable, reliable and predictable attendance is an essential function of most jobs. But there are circumstances in which job flexibility does make sense, particularly among the salary population, who can perform certain functions remotely or outside the bounds of office hours.

On the cognitive or job aid front, it may, for example, help to increase the font size for an employee who is visually impaired. Or provide additional training in a format that’s conducive to the disabled employee grasping information more effectively. Other low-to-no-cost accommodation examples include altering the lighting, changing computer monitors, or even granting an employee permission to bring an item to work that improves their health condition, such as a desk fan.

The benefit for employees

An interactive process, the dialogue that happens between an employer and employee to discuss the injured or disabled worker’s needs, serves as the backbone of accommodations. If an employer is asking the right questions and listening to truly understand, they will walk away with the insight necessary to understand an employee’s needs and how best to retain them or return them to work. When an employee can work and be productive, it results in improved morale — not only for themselves, but for their coworkers. It also notably boosts injured workers’ recovery. Studies have repeatedly shown that injured employees heal faster at work versus sitting at home.

Supporting an aging workforce

According to a 2022 Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) report, half of persons with a disability were ages 65+, nearly three times larger than the share of seniors that didn’t have a disability. A higher likelihood of disability among older populations reflects the increased incidence of disability with age. What does this mean for our workforce? Industry leaders predict that a staggering 50% of those in the working population will become disabled for at least 15 months during their careers.

Given the gravity of that proportion, employers must be proactive in considering possible actions to address an aging workforce’s specific needs. Employers can examine their benefits packages and see where opportunities lie in supporting the kinds of physical and mental conditions that commonly correlate with aging.

From a legal lens, it is critical that employees are trained that aging in and of itself is not an impairment or disability, despite the potential for confusing a disability with natural manifestations of aging. Assumptions about older employees needing extra support or being less capable of performing essential job functions can lead to a pervasive culture of unconscious bias, which can translate into discriminatory — and even legal — action.

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From the Editor’s Desk: ‘Chamber Magic’

Back on January 10, I had my first 2024 meeting back in the Chamber office. I walked into Shawn’s office and before any magazine business could be addressed I told her “I didn’t make it ten days into the new year without booking a Disney World trip!”

I had booked two days earlier, so I barely made it a week.

For context, you’ll want to know that Disney and “when’s the next trip?” is one of the many things Shawn and I have connected over in the almost-five years of working together. It’s been one of our go-to off-topic topics and you know we’re in a hurry if the meeting is void of Disney magic.

But as I sit here and think about it, maybe I wasn’t as far off-topic after all…

After planning and stewing and fussing for what seemed like weeks but was only a few days, I finally took action.

Sound like a familiar series of behaviors for anyone in business? You research, you plan, you debate, and then at some point you have to make a move.

Travel planning usually isn’t a grueling process for me, but in changing up the season, the weekly timeframe and even the resort threw in some new questions to be answered. Eventually I arrived at “let’s just do it” even if we still had a few pieces to plan. Besides, I wanted my Disney+ deal, too.

Business owners and operators have and will continue to face a similar decision process on a regular basis. You’ll have new twists in the plot, new questions to answer, and maybe even tight timelines on your own version of a Disney+ deal. As we’re still in the first half of 2024, there may still be bigger decisions for the year to settle upon. Others may be looking at things that impact 2025 and beyond.

Decision making still comes down to you and your team, but is there a way the Chamber could help you? Maybe! The Chamber has numerous benefits that could be the answer or a piece to the decision puzzle as you weigh your current situation. Visit gcchamber.org/member-benefits/ to view them all

Need advice? The Chamber as a whole (the staff, the members, and everyone’s connections) is a wealth of knowledge and experience. Chances are someone has been where you’ve been and would be happy to share their experiences, even if you’re looking to stray from the choices they made. Jump in and reach out by connecting with the office or better yet, keep an eye on the calendar on your newsletters for the next networking event so you can make new connections with fellow members. Who knows, you may be able to talk someone else through their decision process too as we all bring unique and valuable experiences to the table.

Dare I say it’s Chamber magic?


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