Greater Niles Chamber Emergency Relief Program
The Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) has distributed an approximate $100,000 to small businesses across the greater Niles region as part of the Greater Niles Chamber Emergency Relief Program (ERP) in order to support businesses affected by the COVID-19, coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent mitigation efforts. 17 businesses were awarded grants, seven of which were awarded in the first round that concluded on Friday, April 17, and 10 additional businesses were selected to receive funding after the conclusion of the second round on Friday, May 1.
On Tuesday, April 7, the Chamber introduced the Greater Niles Chamber Emergency Relief Program in response to recent developments concerning the COVID-19, coronavirus public health crisis. The ERP was designed to support the greater Niles businesses that are affected by COVID-19 and the subsequent mitigation efforts within the region. Although originally presented as a low-interest loan program, the ERP was converted to a grant program in an effort to better assist the regional business community.
The Greater Niles Chamber Emergency Relief Program was designed for locally owned, small business members (less than 100 employees) located within the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce’s designated service areas of the City of Niles, Niles Township, the City of Buchanan, Buchanan Township, Bertrand Township, and Howard Township that were affected by recent closure mandates. Applicants had the opportunity to request up to $10,000 in grant funding.
A primary objective of these grants was general operational needs, to settle fixed debts, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid otherwise if the executive orders had not been issued. For example, this could include, but is not be limited to, rent, mortgage payments, lease payments, utilities (phone, internet, security, electric, water), subscriptions, IT Support license fees, etc. The replacement of lost sales or profits or business expansion were not permissible uses. Awarded funds were to be utilized only for addressed locations listed on the application within the Chamber’s designated service area.
In 2018 the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce, previously known as the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce, sold the Four Flags Plaza to General Capital Group. The proceeds from the sale were placed with the Hunter Foundation, with plans to use the interest earned to help aid in small business development. Approximately $80,000 has come available in 2020 for these purposes. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds were redirected to aid in emergency relief efforts for businesses to help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to serve the business community and the Chamber’s member businesses by providing products, programs, and services that drive company and community growth. It is imperative that at this time any available resources are utilized to rebuild the greater Niles business community and act as a catalyst for businesses to recover from these unprecedented times.
For more information on the Greater Niles Chamber ERP one may contact the Chamber at Info@GreaterNilesChamber.com or call (269) 683-1833.
For further information on business resources regarding the coronavirus, including additional financial resources, a management toolkit for businesses, and press releases and state notices, one may visit www.greaternileschamber.com/COVID19.