Central Perks and Luxury Nails and Spa in Marshall were both approved by the city commission last week to receive the maximum $2,500 grant available through the city’s new Small Business Grant Program.
The program was approved unanimously by commissioners in September and is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 allocation.
The new program allows for $75,000 taken from the CDBG-COVID funding, which could provide more than 30 businesses in Marshall with grant money to help relieve some of the cost of changes they have had to make due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Deb and Rob Sarich, owners of Central Perks, said that the grant money will be very helpful to them to alleviate the cost of revamping the way their restaurant operates due to the outbreak.
The restaurant was closed for 10 days, according to Deb, who added that they were one of the lucky businesses in the area to only have been shut down for that short a length of time.
However, during those 10 days the business totally altered their model, replacing the dine-in restaurant with a more self service-style eating establishment and converting to disposable goods.
“We did an entire renovation on the interior of the restaurant during that time,” Deb said.
Rob added that the business also had a number of employees that they paired for that were unable to work, which the grant money will also help to alleviate.
“It was a lot of work,” he said. “We had a lot of major changes to make.”
The process itself was easy, according to the couple, who said that the hardest part was going back through the receipts and doing the math. Deb added that Main Street Director Rachel Chapman is a great resource in answering and questions or clarifying any confusion about the application.
Chapman recently stated that eligible business would fit the following criteria:
- Qualifying businesses with at least three employees but not more than 50 may apply for grants up to maximum of $2,500 toward eligible expenses that incurred after March 1.
- Businesses must be located within the city limits of Marshall.
- Eligible businesses include but are not limited to retail (storefront), food and beverage, personal care (barbershop, nail salons, spas, etc.) automobile maintenance, education/training, art galleries, gyms, and small manufacturing businesses.
- Ineligible business types include financial institutions, RV Parks, apartment complexes, home-based businesses, permanently-closed businesses and nonprofit organizations.
- Application process would be submitting an application with required paper work, and staff will then provide a recommendation to the city commission making a final determination.
The program is intended to reimburse local small businesses for the expense of purchasing equipment and supplies that enabled them to adapt to the changing conditions caused by the pandemic.
City spokesperson Stormy Nickerson said that there is currently no deadline put in place for this grant program, and local businesses are welcome to apply at anytime.
“We would really like to see more businesses applying and completing these applications, because we want to be giving this money away,” Nickerson said.
She added that other businesses are in the process of completing their loan applications, but at this time the only two completed applications are the Central Perks and Luxury Nails and Spa.