Local municipalities give assistance to small businesses

Published: Apr. 29, 2020 at 10:16 PM CDT
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In an effort to help small businesses, many cities are providing grants to business owners to literally help keep the lights on.

"Loans help, but that loan actually has to be paid back at some point. So what we looked at doing is creating a program for small local businesses, to help them pay their mortgages or leases payments. To keep the physical structure alive until we're through this thing," Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza said.

In the case of Stevens Point, the city used $100,000 in emergency money for the grant. Giving local owners like Tara Manzke a chance to apply for assistance during a tough time.

"I feel so fortunate to be a part of this community because it has been such a huge outpouring of love and support from our community members. From people like Mike Wiza. Just so many people showing their support," Bria Bella & Co. owner Tara Manzke added.

Stevens Point is not the only city that is providing assistance. Marshfield, Merrill, Mosinee, are all helping small businesses through grants or loans.

Mosinee Mayor Brent Jacobsen helped put a grant together from economic development funds that totaled $25,000. He says that the impact was felt right away.

"Within six days we were able to help over 20 businesses in our community. Some were able to apply and use all of it, some less, but all were extremely thankful that we did that," Mayor Jacobsen explained.

On top top of a $1500 grant, the city of Merrill is also offering an interest-free 3-year loan of $1500 dollars for businesses with 25 employees or less. That loan doesn't need a payment until the end of year 2, then the end of year 3. They believe that keeping businesses around strengthens development.

"We consider this part of development just keeping people here, and we think its important to keep them and support local business, and I would ask people that when our businesses are able to open up more please buy locally," Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson said.

Mosinee and Stevens Point have reached their cap for assistance that they can give. Merrill and Marshfield both still have money available. Merrill will continue until they meet their $200,000 cap. Marshfield will be accepting applications until May1.

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