The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for most small business owners and non-profit organizations. While looking after their own and their employees’ health, small business owners also have to consider the health of their customers, and of the businesses themselves. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) wanted to help our small business community weather these challenges by offering the Michigan Small Business Restart Grant. This grant enabled recipients to make the interior changes necessary to keep people safe, it helped small business owners move their sales to an online format, and it offered payroll support so that small businesses owners and non-profits could keep their employees paid. These grants were specifically for women-owned, minority-owned, or veteran-owned eligible businesses.
FINDING HELP FROM DISTRICT 1 BUSINESS LIAISON
As many who own a small business or run a non-profit know, finding the time to apply for a grant can be difficult. This is where Tenecia Johnson, the District 1 Business Liaison for the City of Detroit, stepped in. Through the Detroit Means Business platform, Tenecia offered District 1 small businesses and non-profits interested in applying some hands-on assistance in completing the grant application. Tenecia made sure they had access to the application, a list of the documents required, and guidance about how best to explain what kind of support they needed. Tenecia reached out to businesses that had expressed need, and to some who hadn’t realized there were grant funds available. Just in Grandmont Rosedale, 12 small businesses and one non-profit were awarded a Restart Grant:
- Arrow Office Supply Co., 17005 Grand River (owner Michael Cain and associate pictured above)
- The W Beauty and Barber Lounge, 18718 Grand River
- Infinite Dzigns, 19605 Grand River
- Grand River Hardware Express, 18450 Grand River
- Good Cookies, 19007 W. McNichols
- DPI Plumbing Heating & Cooling, 19120 Grand River
- Divine Child Christian Learning Center, 19260 Grand River
- Michael C. Hudgins DDS, 19001 Grand River
- Norwest Gallery of Art, 19556 Grand River
- The Garden Bug, 18901 Grand River
- Si’Gees Clothing, 19184 Grand River
- Spa-A-Peel Studio, 19025 Grand River
- North Rosedale Park Civic Association, 18445 Scarsdale
Several of these small business owners are also participating in Shop small GRANDmont Rosedale – Virtually! – the Small Business event that offers online shopping with discounts and specials until December 25. Small businesses have come to rely on the increase in sales the holiday shopping season usually brings. This season though, there could likely be a decrease in sales due to COVID-19 as small businesses often rely heavily on in-person shoppers. The Restart grant helped mitigate some of the losses of this year’s shopping season by providing funding for the installation of safety measures, such as plexiglass inside stores, and for the creation and/or updating necessary for on online shopping option. The grant also enabled employees to keep receiving a paycheck in spite of the challenges.
A NEIGHBORHOOD CONNECTION TO SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), is part of the Michigan Economic Growth Corporation. Having people like Tenecia in place right here in the neighborhood is a valuable and important way for a small business owner to keep in touch with opportunities, resources, and the support system that exists to ensure their success. Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and the Grand River WorkPlace are community partners as well, connecting our small business community to a wide variety of available small business support services.
According to James Martin, board member of the non-profit, the North Rosedale Park Civic Association, the Restart grant came right on time: “In 2019, we renovated the playground, only to have to barricade it from use during the pandemic. We opened a commercial kitchen only to have to lock it down just as it was hitting its stride. We’ve had to cancel renters’ events, as well as our own. All of these uses of the North Rosedale Park Community House are the primary drivers for revenue to continue to fund the operation and improvements to the community house, the playground, and the park. As the potential for reopening approached, we were faced with obstacles in regards to funding the requirements we would need to properly reopen. Receiving a grant from the DEGC has relieved a lot of that burden.”
SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY: SHOP LOCAL
The best way for residents to keep their community strong is to shop locally. It’s really that simple. Instead of ordering your clothes or books or beauty supplies from a large warehouse, order directly from a Grandmont Rosedale business or call and see if they are open for in-person shopping. A strong small business community strengthens the entire neighborhood.
To find out more about the small business supports available at Detroit Means Business, the small business community hub, go to https://detroitmeansbusiness.org/
To learn more about the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, visit https://www.degc.org/
If you have a question for Tenecia Johnson, District 1 Business Liaison, call 313.460.0775.
To support Grandmont Rosedale businesses, check out this list of links to the small business vendors participating in Shop small in GRANDmont Rosedale: https://grandmontrosedale.com/holiday-shopping/