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$450,000 awarded to nearly 60 Macomb small businesses

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MACOMB (WGEM) -- Small business owners in Macomb say they're doing what they can to offset 2020 losses and they're getting some help from the state to do it.

$450,000 is going to more than 50 small businesses, thanks to several state grant programs.

Craig Burns, received over $12,000 through an outdoor seating grant.

He said it's a relief from the curveballs the pandemic threw at his business last year.

"The cost of the business interruption to our normal operation initially was very substantial," Burns said.

Burns said for six-weeks they had to close their doors to in-door services.

He hopes the $12-thousand grant for outdoor seating will off set some of that loss and bring customers back, even in the winter.

"For instance we were able to purchase six-fire pit tables that run on propane that have really been useful to us here since the weather has turned cold," Burns said.

Macomb Community Development Coordinator, John Bannon said the city started applying for state grants to help small businesses in May of last year.

"We're thrilled to get $450,000 in the hands of small business owners, but we know its only part of what's needed," Bannon said.

He said for some business owners this is the first time they have ever received a penny from the city or state.

"We're getting money into the hands of people who need it, and so whether that's back rent or whether that's helping them make their next inventory purchase," Bannon said.

Passi African Hair Braiding Shop Owner Akpene Akoto said her business relies on the flow of college students coming through her doors.

"It's like when the students are not here, business is very slow," Akoto said.

She said the nearly $5,000 she will receive from the small business micro grant will help keep her shop running.

"It will help me for my rent and utilities," Akoto said.

Bannon said funds for the small business micro grants will be allocated by the end of the month.

He said the outdoor seating grant application process began first, so most businesses have already received those funds.

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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