New grant to support rural small businesses affected by COVID-19

A new $250,000 grant from Tippecanoe County could help small businesses keep their employees on the books.

Posted: Sep 9, 2020 4:04 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2020 9:10 AM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Business has been slow at Pooch at Play Doggie Day Care on Lindberg Road. The rural small business is caring for fewer dogs than ever before.

"Most people bring their dogs here when they go to work, and if they're not going to work, they don't really think about it," says owner Holly Mayoras.

Mayoras has laid off some employees and reduced hours for others. The federal Paycheck Protection Program helped keep some employees on the books, but the money is running out.

"I was behind on my rent and my bills and everything like that because all of my money was going towards the people that needed to be paid because, you know, that's the most important part, especially in a small business, because you can't have a small business without your employees," she says. 

A new $250,000 grant from Tippecanoe County could help fill in the gaps. The money will be used to make business loans at 9% interest. The loans are forgiveable after two years.

Mayoras says a new source of funding would be beneficial.

"I know I'm not the only small business that could use it because there's a lot of them that were in the same boat as me, where it's like, we want to make sure we pay our employees, we made sure we paid our employees, but you can't really put a lot of money aside when you need to make sure that people can pay their bills," she says. 

The money is being made available from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Lafayette and West Lafayette have rolled out similar relief packages for businesses.

Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh says businesses outside city limits are eligible. Half of their employees must be low- to moderate-income.

"Everybody's struggling out there and everyday's a different hurdle that they have to overcome," he says.

The county is forming a committee to accept and review applications. Businesses can apply online on the county website.

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