Officials announced Thursday that the Union County 3R Small Business Relief Grant Program will distribute $196,500 in emergency financial assistance to 43 local businesses.
“We want to help small businesses get back on their feet and we believe this program will support them as they reopen and find their way in the new normal,” said Terry Emery, Marysville City Manager.
Union County Economic Development Director Eric Phillips said the 3R Small Business Grant Program (3R) was developed to provide financial aid to small businesses that sustained economic loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closures.
He said the 43 recipients represent “business sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.” The list included 15 restaurants, 13 retailers, 12 service businesses, two hotels and one manufacturer.
Of the recipients, 34 are located in Marysville, three in Richwood and six from elsewhere in Union County.
Money for the grants came from a variety of sources including the county bed tax revenue, Marysville’s façade improvement grant program, the Marysville Union County Port Authority as well as other public and private organizations, businesses and individuals.
Phillips said the goal was to provide one-time grants, up to $5,000, to Union County businesses.
He said 47 businesses applied for the program. Each application was reviewed by an oversight committee of business and community representatives.
“The committee attempted to meet all requests for funding, but final decisions were contingent upon the degree of financial need, whether the applicant met eligibility requirements, and the availability of funds,” according to a statement from the Union County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) which managed the program.
The committee gave “priority” to businesses that were closed or otherwise experienced limited operations due to COVID-19 and experienced “direct, negative impacts that threatened the ability of the business to continue operations long-term as a result.”
“These are unprecedented times. We know that small businesses are the backbone of America and our communities. We want to help them in any way possible,” said Union County Commissioner Steve Stolte.
Phillips said business and banking leaders suggested waiting a couple of weeks before handing out money. He said the businesses had many grant opportunities in the pandemic’s first weeks. He said committee members hope the money will be helpful as businesses begin to reopen.
Phillips has said he hopes checks will be mailed to recipients yet this week.
Phillips said the program was named 3R because the county is “now seeing a path forward to Reconnect with colleagues and partners, to Rebuild our businesses and our community and Recover normalcy and our strong economic momentum.”
Phillips said the money is not meant to be the “end-all funding mechanism” but rather a way to help and to encourage businesses.
According to the statement, businesses can use the funding for lease or mortgage assistance, operational expenses, advertising and marketing, supplies, maintenance, payroll and utilities as well as “unforeseen expenses including the purchase of safety supplies such as masks, hand sanitizer and other items to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
Phillips said a portion of administrative funds were used to create the Union County Safe Coalition, a group of local business owners and community leaders working together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Officials have said many of Union County’s businesses have taken the Union County Safe Pledge, an initiative to keep employees, residents and visitors healthy and safe.
He said there is about $15,000 remaining in the grant account. The committee has not yet determined how the remaining money will be spent.
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