Local businesses can now apply for a $7,000 grant from the city of Enumclaw. Image courtesy the city of Enumclaw

Local businesses can now apply for a $7,000 grant from the city of Enumclaw. Image courtesy the city of Enumclaw

New CARES Act funds to be given directly to local businesses

If you have 60 or less employees and operate out of Enumclaw, then you’re eligible for up to $7,000.

Enumclaw businesses are about to get a bit of financial relief from the city.

Mayor Jan Molinaro said Friday, Sept. 4, that the city of Enumclaw will be receiving an additional $183,000 in CARES Act funds, which will be used for various needs around the city, including earmarking some funds for a Small Business Relief Grant Program.

“The city is grateful to be able to provide additional funds to lessen some of the impact COVID has placed on families, workers and small business owners through the many programs these funds will be shared,” Molinaro wrote in an email. “Though it is not enough to solve every issue, it is hoped that others in the community, who are able, will step forward to assist in filling the gap.”

The program, which will oversee a pot of around $100,000 total, is headed by a Small Business Relief Grant Committee, comprised of Councilmembers Tony Binion — who will chair the commission — Kael Johnson and Kyle Jacobson.

The Small Business Relief Grant Program will provide a one-time grant of up to $7,000 to small businesses in the Enumclaw area — enough, said Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce CEO Troy Couch, to hopefully “stabilize” some businesses and “help them get caught up” in bills, especially rent.

But before businesses can receive the cash payment, there are more than a few hurdles, hoops, and prerequisites they’ll have to meet.

First, the business must be physically located within Enumclaw city limit — no businesses in unincorporated King County can apply. Additionally, the business cannot be a chain or a franchise.

Second, businesses must show “at least a 25 percent drop in revenue directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a grant program criteria list reads. These businesses should also belong to one of the business sectors hit hardest by the pandemic — restaurant or dining, hospitality, arts and entertainment, and other service-focused businesses will be prioritized over others.

Third, you must have 60 or less employees (including the owner).

Businesses can also only spend the money in three ways: for salaries and benefits to retain staff or for owners or leadership that have been unable to take a salary due to loss of revenue; facilities costs, including rent and utilities; and various business costs, which includes purchasing equipment to make a temporary transition from a physical business model to a digital one.

Applications will be accepted between Sept. 7 and 30 by emailing City Clerk Maureen Burwell at mburwell@ci.enumclaw.wa.us, or by mailing a letter to Attn: Maureen Burwell, 1339 Griffin Avenue, Enumclaw, WA 98022.

Businesses that are chosen to receive a grant will be required to report back to the Small Business Relief Grant Committee on how the funds were spent, how it affected the business’ survival, how many employees were hired or retained, and how the funds affected revenue generation.

The roughly $83,000 remaining of the additional CARES Act funds will be distributed to local non-profits in the community “to assist with the needs of families and workers who have been affected by COVID” and remain with the city “to cover some additional COVID related expenses covered by the CARES Act,” Molinaro said.

The mayor added that the city had discussed implementing a grant program like this in mid-August after the city received around $366,000 in CARES Acts funds near the start of the pandemic, but “with an accounting of funds conducted by the city, it was determined that not enough funds were available to assist enough businesses” at that time.

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