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Published in Small Business

Grand Rapids opens $10K COVID-19 adaptation grants to more small businesses

BY Monday, October 25, 2021 04:01pm

GRAND RAPIDS — The city of Grand Rapids’ Economic Development Office is expanding the number of businesses that can apply for COVID-19 adaptation grants of up to $10,000.

The city’s grant program launched this summer for businesses located in neighborhoods of focus on the west and south sides of the Grand Rapids. Since it launched, a total of $100,000 in grants has been awarded to 12 businesses. Approximately $165,000 in program funding remains.

In addition to businesses located in neighborhoods of focus, the city is now also allowing businesses located within the city’s six corridor improvement authorities to apply for grants through the program. The corridor improvement authorities are along Michigan Street, the North Quarter, South Division-Grandville, Southtown, Uptown and the West Side.

For companies that receive grants, eligible expenses include the cost of additional technology, furniture, fixtures and equipment such as personal protective equipment. Costs must have been incurred on or after March 1, 2020 to be considered. There is no matching requirement. Day-to-day business expenses such as rent, payroll and utility fees are not eligible for funding. 

Examples of potential expenses that the grants could cover include the cost of air purification systems or point-of-sale software to reduce customer contact with employees. 

Putt-Putts Bar on the west side of Grand Rapids was one of the 12 recipients so far of the grant funding, which co-owner Pat Fischer said was badly needed to help cover costs of adding additional seating. 

Fischer said in a statement that the bar owners “applied immediately” once they learned about the grant program. The funds will help cover the cost of constructing an outdoor pergola with siding and heaters, which will allow the bar to accommodate more seating with proper social distancing, Fischer said.

Eligible businesses must have between one and 25 employees and have been in operation since at least March 1, 2021. The for-profit companies must also comply with local state and federal laws, which excludes cannabis-related businesses from applying.

The $265,000 program is funded with Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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