AKRON, Ohio — It’s no secret that many businesses have been struggling since the beginning of the pandemic.
That’s why many city governments across the country are trying to help, including the City of Akron.
The city announced a new program to provide eligible small businesses with onetime $10,000 grants. The program will utilize $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
For small business owners like Marge Klein, owner of the Peanut Shoppe of Akron, loans like this one are crucial for keeping her business going.
“People are now working from home, so we don’t have all of the lunch hour traffic we used to have,” Klein explained. “It was hard, but you know we had to do what we had to do. We just knew we wanted to come back.”
This iconic Akron store has been in business since 1933, but the owner said these past few years have been the most difficult they have experienced.
The Shoppe closed for several months during the pandemic and on top of that, there was major construction in downtown Akron happening right in front of her store.
Klein said they had to use grants and loans to stay afloat.
“We will take it a day at a time, a week at a time,” she said. “Just think positive that it will get better.”
The program will utilize $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Applications open Aug. 15 and are due by Sept. 2, 2022.
The city of Akron’s website explained that in order to qualify, a business must meet the following requirements:
- Be a legal for-profit business;
- Must be located within a Qualified Census Tract in Akron
- Must have two to 50 workers on payroll (including full-time or part-time employees, and owners actively working in the business)
- Be current with income tax and property tax obligations for the business with the City of Akron and County of Summit
- In operation in the City of Akron on or before Jan. 1, 2020
- Must be able to describe how the business has been negatively impacted due to a reduction in business activity or increase in supply chain costs related to COVID-19 pandemic or related public health restrictions and orders.