GALION — A total of $190,000 in CARES Act funding was awarded to 61 Galion area businesses as part of the latest small business relief grant program.
“We awarded grants in the amount of $5,000 and $2,500,” said Miranda Jones, executive director of the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce. “The businesses that received the $5,000 grants were the ones that, in our contract with the city for the grants, had taken out the (Galion) Port Authority loan. The city and the Port Authority worked on that really early on in the pandemic. The city just wanted to make sure that (the businesses that received loans) had the same opportunity as others to receive extra funding. Since they took out loans from the Port Authority, they did have to pay that back.”
The chamber awarded 15 of the $5,000 grants and 46 grants at the $2,500 level, Jones said.
The City of Galion provided $200,000 in CARES Act funding for the Galion-Crestline Area Chamber of Commerce relief grant program. Jones said the remaining $10,000 was used to pay for administration of the grant program, including direct mail pieces, marketing, and reimbursement for hours chamber staff committed to the program.
Jones said the number of businesses that applied for the latest round of grants funded through CARES Act dollars reflects the great need that still exists within Galion’s small business community.
“A lot of the people, as they were picking up their checks, were letting us know that they had some projects they’d been considering,” Jones said. “They had some HVAC units that were failing and they needed to fix them or they had something else going on within their business that due to the decrease in numbers, in sales, they just weren’t sure how they were going to be able to get these improvements done. These grants were the opportunity that they were looking for to keep their businesses in order and stay up to code in some cases.
“For a lot of the businesses, they were banking on having a busy summer, but it hasn’t been that busy for many of the people we talked to,” Jones added.
Jones noted that business owners she spoke with indicated that consumer spending locally was favorable through the first two quarters of 2021, but has started to slide somewhat recently.
“Most of them let us know that second quarter was really good,” Jones said. “We saw a lot of great spending through June and even into July was really good. But as school got closer to starting and the uncertainty of what was going to happen with school, now with holidays, and with flu season coming up, they’re really seeing a decrease in sales. People are really starting to save their money. People aren’t eating out at restaurants right now and they’re not really buying anything extra beyond the necessities right now. It’s really starting to impact some of our businesses.”
Jones said she met with the Crawford County Commissioners last week and noted that they still have some CARES Act funding available. She said she plans to meet with them again to determine where there might be some other gaps in funding for local businesses that could be filled with that money.
In November 2020, the county commissioners provided $1.2 million in CARES Act funds split between the Galion-Crestline and Bucyrus area chambers of commerce and the Community Foundation of Crawford County to fund relief grants for local small businesses and non-profit organizations.
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