'Mayor's Business Tour' helps keep Fairfield businesses open during pandemic

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 19:15:27-04

FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Starting on April 1, Mayor Steve Miller went above and beyond to help keep Fairfield businesses alive. His project: A tour of 36 locally owned businesses over the course of three months, with each visit recorded and posted on Facebook to raise awareness in the broader Fairfield community.

Stops on the Mayor’s Business Tour included bars, restaurants, jewelry shops and motorcycle stores. All of them are an integral part of the city, Miller said Friday.

“Over the years they’ve done a lot to help us,” he said. “They’ve been very community oriented. They’ve given to fundraisers, charities, they’ve given to us and helped us. Now it’s our turn to give back to them and help them when they need us.”

He also challenged Fairfield residents to hold a contest and see who could visit the most stops on the Mayor's Business Tour themselves in a two-week period. The winner earned a gift certificate, according to the city Facebook page.

Matt Berding, who owns Berd’s Grill and Bar, can vouch for the campaign’s effectiveness firsthand. Miller stopped by his restaurant April 24.

“It was pretty early on, and I think it was helpful,” Berding said. “We had a lot of people calling in and supporting and mentioning the mayor challenge.”

The support is especially important to new businesses like his, he added. Berd’s Grill & Bar had been open for less than a year when the pandemic abruptly eliminated 75% of traffic and forced Berding to switch to carryout-only.

He’s hopeful he can rebuild his old momentum as restrictions relax and dine-in becomes a more viable option. In the meantime, he’s grateful for the help of the city government and the people who spent their money locally over the spring.

“Being a new restaurant, it’s difficult,” he said. “And we really, really support everybody coming out and supporting us.”