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Chamber Blog

Kent County Steps in to Support Severely Impacted Businesses

(Grand Rapids, Michigan – September 24, 2020) – Today, Kent County is announcing additional support for two critical segments of our business community impacted by the pandemic. $750,000 will be allocated specifically to childcare providers, and an additional $5M will be allocated to businesses closed by Executive Order as of August 1, 2020.

“We must take every action to support job creators who are still shuddered or had a long-delayed reopening,” said Mandy Bolter, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “Working with our business owners and economic groups it has become painfully clear we will lose some of these jobs forever if we do not act now. I’m thankful we have funding to create this targeted program and hopeful our families and friends can get back to work, safely and soon.”

Businesses that qualify for the $5 million fund will receive a short-term economic relief grant ranging from $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or $40,000 depending on size of business, operating costs and employee count.

To be eligible, the organization must be a private, for-profit, or non-profit business located and registered in Kent County closed as of August 1, 2020 by Executive Order. Businesses that qualify for this grant include indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, banquet centers, indoor gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, sports facilities, exercise facilities, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, indoor dance areas, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.

Other eligible businesses include contractors, vendors, or suppliers directly serve those described above and have been severely impacted by their closure such as caterers. Applications for this new fund are now live and a link to apply can be found here.

“Our revenue is down over 90% for the year, and we have no clear idea of when we will be able to reopen or when live music touring will return to normal,” said Scott Hammontree, partner/talent buyer for The Intersection. “We were among the first businesses to close and will likely be the last to reopen. All of our employees are furloughed as we have no jobs to offer them.”

“Never did I think that a government shutdown would be one of the struggles I would face as a newer business owner,” said Christina VanDamn, owner of Zeal Aerial Fitness.

“The Lit in addition to the entire events industry has lost nearly 90% of revenue for 2020. If things do not begin to open up soon, we will continue to see lost revenue, cancelled events, and more hardship moving forward,” continued Rob DeVerna, owner of The Lit. “The ability to pivot our services is extremely limited as gatherings continue to be restricted.”

In addition to the $5M, Kent County has also allocated $750,000 specifically for childcare providers to support a critical industry.

 

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 About Kent County

The County of Kent government serves a diverse population of more than 650,000 residents, making it the fourth largest county in Michigan. The County provides a wide range of essential services in the following areas: law enforcement, correctional facility, three court systems, elections, social services, public health, park system and vital records. Additionally, it has operating agreements for the maintenance of County drains, solid waste and road, mental health services, and with the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and John Ball Zoo. To learn more about Kent County services, visit www.accesskent.com.

 

About the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce leads the business community in creating a dynamic, top-of-mind West Michigan region. Together with over 2,500 member businesses (80% of which are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees), we work to expand the influence, access, and information required to actively encourage entrepreneurial growth and community leadership. We offer the connections, resources, and insights needed to develop strong leaders, engage a diverse workforce, foster an inclusive and welcoming community, and advance a vibrant business environment that nurtures economic prosperity for all. Learn more at www.grandrapids.org.

Mia Jankowiak Administrator
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