By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor
The city of Grove City will use its Coronavirus Aid, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to help small businesses.
At the Sept. 8 meeting, Grove City Council approved an ordinance to enact the Small Business Working Capital Grant Program.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said the city’s administration has been discussing ideas to help local business owners since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We have to try to help our small businesses,” he said. “I’m anxious to see what kind of requests we get.”
The grant program was developed to provide businesses with temporary relief to offset operational costs to reopen, reestablish operations and return employees to work.
Council has voted to set aside $100,000 of the city’s CARES Act funds to use for the program. Grants are available in an amount up to $2,500 per eligible business.
According to the program guidelines, an eligible small business is considered a for-profit business employing a maximum of 25 full-time associates. The business must be locally owned and operated within the corporation limits of Grove City. It must conduct most of its business on-site and be reliant on customers patronizing its brick and mortar establishment. The business must employ workers who are unable to perform their jobs remotely, like those in the service industry. This program is not intended for national retail or restaurant establishments.
Kyle Rauch, development director for Grove City, said those receiving the grant funds can use the money to buy inventory, purchase personal protective equipment or buy sanitizing/cleaning products. Business owners may also use the funds on advertising or marketing expenses, technology upgrades to benefit customer interaction, and building modifications that help the business comply with public health safety measures like physical distance recommendations.
According to city officials, this program could offer up to 40 grants to small businesses. The city has until Nov. 20 to distribute the funds.
City Administrator Chuck Boso said Grove City has received $1.3 million from the CARES Act. After using what the city needed, it has more than $750,00 left from the stimulus fund.
Councilman Roby Schottke suggested doubling the grant amount to businesses to $5,000 and using $200,000 for the program overall.
“That is not a large sum; $2,500 is a drop in the bucket,” said Schottke.
Council members agreed to approve the program, but said city leaders would discuss further funding measures to help the community recover.
To receive funds through the Small Business Working Capital Grant Program, the business must prove its loss of business or revenue that can be contributed to the pandemic. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received until program funds are depleted. The city began accepting applications on Sept. 10.
For more information on the grant program or to apply, visit www.grovecityohio.gov or call the development department at 614-277-3004.
Council also signed off on a resolution to share $25,000 of the city’s CARES Act funds with LifeCare Alliance.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, congregate dining centers in Ohio have been closed, including the dining area at LifeCare Alliance. Clients of the organization were offered home-delivered meals during the stay-at-home order. LifeCare Alliance recently began offering drive-through cookouts and lunches. It still operates its meals-on-wheels program.
The money will help the organization continue to feed the elderly or home-bound in the community.
“It is money well spent,” said Stage. “I’m not sure why more cities are not doing this.”