TROY — In less than 24 hours after its launch, Troy business organizations have already received 50 applications for grants through its Small Business Disaster Relief Fund program.
The grant program is through the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce with support from Troy Main Street, the city of Troy and the Troy Development Council. Each organization contributed to the fund of approximately $115,000: Troy Development Council $25,000, Troy Area Chamber of Commerce $25,000, Troy Main Street $25,000 and the city of Troy gave $40,000. The program launched on Monday.
Grants may range from $2,500 up to $5,000 and can be used for operating expenses such as payroll, utilities and rent. Awards are first-come, first-serve basis. To be eligible, a business must employ 50 employees or less; be located in a commercial or retail setting; current with all local, state and federal taxes and assessment; and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In less than 24 hours, we’ve received 50 applications,” said Troy Development Council CEO and Troy Area Chamber of Commerce President Joey Graves. “We expect more. There’s no deadline, so we were hoping the typical grant to be $2,500 and an exceptional grant up to $5,000, but with the number of applicants, we may have to adjust that figure to help as many businesses as possible.”
Graves said they are screening applications as they are being submitted. Applications are also being filed to apply for the federal small business disaster loan program, which currently has a 3.75 percent interest rate to help business in the long-term.
“We would like to stress that the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund is available to businesses under 50 employees throughout Troy, not just downtown. This can include restaurants, retail, service industry, small manufacturers, hotels,” Graves said.
Graves said no business has been untouched by the state mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Graves said hoteliers have been a sector hit the hardest due to the lack of travel and business-related stays. Graves said many local restaurants have applied for the grant, which have also felt the impact from crowd restrictions despite trying to remain open with carry-out and delivery options.
Graves said it’s an “unfortunate reality” that some local businesses may not pull through the economic shutdown from the pandemic. Graves said there were a large number of business and corporate closures due to the 2009 economy collapse, but he has never witnessed a crisis on the scale of the pandemic that has touched each area of business and society.
“It’s one thing to be living month-to-month, but a lot of businesses owners live week-to-week and some don’t have the revenue source so it’s hard to make those payments,” Graves said. “This is brand new territory and hopefully we don’t have to deal with this again.”
Graves said the chamber has been working very hard to keep the Troy business community updated on the latest changes and has a resource page on its website. The chamber also has been hosting Zoom video conferences, and has been in communication with local, state and federal representatives.
“It’s been tough on a lot of business owners and they are making decisions like furloughing people. It’s a tough thing being a business owner and we hope to be there for them in these uncertain times,” Graves said.