Commissioners award $10M in grants to small businesses hurt by COVID

WEST CHESTER — Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline announced Friday the awarding of $10 million in grants to 333 Chester County small businesses.  The individual grants, made available through round two of the Chester County Main Street Preservation grant program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, range from $20,000 to $49,500.

“Preserving Chester County’s main street businesses remains crucial to our economy and the fact we are able to award a second, even larger number of grants is really substantial,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz. “Many small businesses have worked so hard and so creatively to try and adapt to the impact of this pandemic, but a financial boost is still needed to cover business costs.”

“These grants will help our small business owners who have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, including restaurants, caterers and other industries struggling through no fault of their own,” Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell said. “We are excited to be able to deliver this good news so early in 2021, and will continue to find ways to help our small businesses stay open.”

The Chester County Main Street Preservation grant program was created at the request of the Commissioners early in the pandemic to provide funding for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC), administrators of the grant program, received over 430 applications for funding under the second round, and all applications were thoroughly reviewed against the eligibility requirements of the grant program.

Eligibility for the second round of the Main Street Preservation grant program included businesses that have been active and for-profit since 2019 or earlier, with 2019 revenues of $5 million or less; a 30 percent decline in revenue; and a business location in Chester County.  Businesses that received a Main Street Preservation grant in June 2020 were also ineligible for the second round of grants.

“This grant program is an important – and smart – investment in Chester County’s economy,” Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline said.  “We will continue to find ways to support and sustain all of our small businesses, including working together with our county-wide chambers of commerce, the Chester County Economic Development Council and all other partners.”

Of the 333 grants awarded in the second round of the Main Street Preservation grant program, nearly half are owned by women, and one in five are minority-owned.  Just under 30 percent are restaurants, caterers, hotels and bed & breakfasts, and 22 percent are professional service businesses such as automotive repair, barber shops, beauty salons and dry cleaners.

“We are laser focused on providing programs and services that can help our businesses get through this difficult time, Mike Grigalonis, CCEDC’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “We appreciate the Commissioners’ latest funding commitment and are proud to administer the Main Street Grant program which supports those businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.”

Funding for the Main Street Preservation grants comes from CARES funding received by Chester County Government.

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