The city of Kenmore recently opened applications for Urgent Small Business Assistance, which would provide a one-time $10-15k grant for local brick and mortar businesses that are at risk of closing.
The Urgent Small Business Assistance grants were a topic at the Feb. 14 Kenmore city council meeting, where the original city recommendation was to allocate $25,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to go towards the grants. ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal law passed in March of 2021 to assist the United States with responding and recovering from COVID-19; the city of Kenmore is to receive a total of $6.4 million in ARPA funds.
“I think staff put together fairly, kind of a conservative proposal because there were some questions about—at the time we had a public survey about how we should use a good chunk of our ARPA dollars, we were asking for public input, and one of those selections was a certain amount of business assistance,” said Mayor Nigel Herbig.
Over the past two and a half months, Kenmore has been collecting feedback from the community about how to spend a portion of the city’s ARPA funding. The city will analyze results over the next few weeks, although the council voted to proceed with the Urgent Small Business Assistance grants on a faster timeline to avoid business closure.
At the Feb. 14 meeting, Councilmember Corina Pfeil made a motion to approve $75k in total grant allocation with the distribution of $10-15k grants. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Angela Kugler, and it was passed unanimously.
“The $25,000 just didn’t seem to be enough based on what we think are some of the needs, especially with brick-and-mortar businesses,” said Councilmember Kugler. “They may be spending a fair amount just on their lease or salary, and we wanted it to be able to help more businesses which is why we increased the amount.”
According to Councilmember Kugler, city staff and council have been hearing from some Kenmore business owners about the urgent needs they are running into, such as paying for rental leases and staff salaries, on top of recent supply chain issues and combating inflation.
“The feedback we’ve heard more immediately and what prompted the discussion about these grants was that some of these businesses have very urgent needs to stay open in the physical locations that are within our city,” said Councilmember Kugler.
Councilmember Kugler believes the Urgent Small Business Assistance grant can support approximately seven businesses.
“I was asking our staff how many businesses we have as brick-and-mortar businesses and we have a registry within our city to know how many businesses operate, and they said roughly 30-40% are brick-and-mortar businesses,” said Councilmember Kugler.
Small businesses in Kenmore that own, rent, or lease commercial space in Kenmore are encouraged to apply. The deadline for application submission is March 18 at 5:00 p.m. Mayor Herbig and Councilmember Kugler did not know of the exact time it will take for applications to be approved and for grants to be awarded, however they believe that the city will move swiftly on the matter.
“These businesses are an integral part of our community, and I think we’ve recognized that and I think we’re trying to do as much as we can to help them out right now,” said Mayor Herbig.
For more information or to apply for Urgent Small Business Assistance visit https://www.kenmorewa.gov/government/departments/city-manager-s-office/arpa-urgent-business-assistance