GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Small businesses are struggling.
"COVID has impacted a lot of dreams in West Michigan," says Terry Rostic, co-founder of Black Calder Brewing Company in Grand Rapids.
For many, those shattered dreams may never be pieced back together.
"For them there is no safety net. There is no plan B," explains Brian Calley, President of the Small Business Association of Michigan. "It has to work or they're facing utter financial ruin."
The newly opened Black Calder Brewing Company originally wanted to launch in its own space.
"But no business plan has 50% occupancy," says Rostic.
Current restrictions from the state forced the owners to temporarily sell their beer out of other locations. Calley says the best thing for small businesses is simply to allow them to work.
"No matter how many stimulus dollars, how many grant programs or what happens, it's not sustainable when businesses are not allowed to open," he says.
On Monday, the board of the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $10 million to be allocated to relief for small businesses. Calley says this money will only go so far.
"Maybe 700 to 800 businesses and at a very modest level," he explains.
He estimates thousands of small businesses around the state will be forced to close if more help from both the state and federal level doesn't arrive soon.
A loss that could be potentially devastating to local economies.
"The character of the community is shaped by the entrepreneurs that live and work and provide opportunity and jobs and investments in our local communities," says Calley.
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