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The Short and Sweet Communications team, including owner Elizabeth Greenaway and nine summer interns, during a recent virtual meeting. Submitted by Elizabeth Greenaway

Anonymous survey will give the team insights to how COVID-19 has affected local business

Williamsport, Pa. -- Short and Sweet Communications, a boutique marketing and communications firm based in Williamsport, Pa., is conducting market research on consumer behavior in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Owner Elizabeth Greenaway and her team of nine summer interns are working together, virtually, to support local businesses in our area as they do business in this new reality.

“One of the students discovered an alarming statistic - one in four small businesses is on the brink of closing permanently. None of us want to envision our community with 25% of the businesses gone,” said Greenaway.

At a time when many businesses were canceling internships, Greenaway decided to offer her first summer internship opportunity for two reasons: a passion to mentor students and a desire to provide pro bono support to local small businesses.

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She expected a handful of applicants, but ended up with over 50 applicants from all across the state.

“I chose these nine students because they all have an entrepreneurial spirit, big dreams, and most importantly, intellectual curiosity and an aspiration to do good for others,” said Greenaway. “This is all new to me, too, so in many ways, we’re all learning together.”

While collecting research about the impacts of COVID-19 on local communities, the summer interns were also seeing the impacts it had on their own lives. Tess Woolslager, a rising senior at Penn State University, tested positive for the virus in July. 

In addition to preparing to launch a blog with helpful information they’ve gathered for communicating with audiences in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, their current focus is on conducting market research.

“We’ve tried to find comprehensive market research on how people are feeling and what they are - and aren’t - doing due to the coronavirus. The information available is limited since this is all so new. Northcentral Pennsylvania is its own community, and we want information we provide to local businesses to be about the community they serve - so we decided to conduct our own,” said Greenaway.

Greenaway and her team hope they can get a significant number of individuals to respond to the survey, so that they can analyze and compile the results, and offer them as insight free of charge to local businesses who are interested in learning how the local community is feeling about going about life in this new reality.

The survey is anonymous, but participants do have the opportunity to provide their name and contact information at the end of the survey to be entered into a drawing to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards.

“This is a unique opportunity to share insight and have your voice included in research that supports local businesses during a desperate time - and gives college students valuable insight to crisis communications,” Greenaway said.

Readers are encouraged ake the survey here: www.shortsweetcomm.com/survey

Local businesses interested in obtaining a copy of the market research results, and other pro bono support, can email Elizabeth Greenaway at elizabeth@shortsweetcomm.com.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.