Columbus small businesses rebounding post pandemic & additional financial help available
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The pandemic was a time of crisis for many, and small business owners in Columbus were not exempt.
The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce gave a development update Tuesday, explaining how Fountain City businesses are holding up following COVID... and what is in store for future projects.
“A stat that Uptown Columbus recently provided is that through the pandemic, they only lost five businesses,” CEO of Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Jerald Mitchell, said. “That’s pretty extraordinary.”
Thanks to the American Rescue plan (A.R.P.), countless Columbus mom and pop shops were able to stay afloat. Nearly $2.5 million were allocated to the City of Columbus to help small businesses and non profits.
Mitchell explained there’s still more money business owners can take advantage of, “If you’re a business as of or prior to March 1, 2019, you are still eligible to submit expenses related to operational retro-fitting, utilities and rent related to that COVID period.”
The cap for small businesses: up to $40,000.
Also helping keep small businesses afloat: several new developments, like Highside Market, looking for tenants.
A big help in this process: StartUP Columbus, a community incubator.
“For the starters that come here our hope and desire would be for them start and grow their business here, but of course entrepreneurs are going to go where their business is needed and be successful wherever they go,” Executive Director of StartUP Columbus, Ben MacMinn, told News Leader 9.
Of course, things looked different for Start Up Columbus during COVID: virtual meetings and classes were crucial. Even through the pandemic, at least 30 new business owners graduated from StartUP Columbus’s programs.
Mitchell said a few of the objections that turn business owners, especially large companies, away from landing in the Fountain City include proximity to Interstate 85 and the Georgia Port Authority, plus the lack of large areas of land to build on.
Mitchell also explained improved infrastructure and the continuation of the Transportation Special Local Sales Tax, which is on this month’s primary ballot, is important to continue attracting businesses to the area.
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