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De Pere offers new grant specifically for downtown hospitality businesses

Applications for this round of grants are due by December 14.
Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 8:53 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Small businesses hit hard by the pandemic are getting more opportunities for financial relief as we head into the winter months.

Governor Tony Evers announced Thursday an additional $45 million in grants for restaurants across the state.

The City of De Pere also rolled out another round of grants this week, specifically for downtown hospitality businesses.

“These are going to be, kind of, the next toughest months,” said Shanna Zeitler, owner of Azure in Downtown De Pere. “Every month is different, so we’re just kind of going one day at a time.”

She’s taken advantage of a number of federal, state and local relief funds offered to small businesses since March, helping her offset costs of inventory, employee wages, bills and rent.

Now she’s applied for De Pere’s latest grant opportunity, the Pandemic Response Downtown Business Aid Program.

The city is offering $300,000 in grants specifically for the retail, restaurant and entertainment industries. The city worked with Definitely De Pere and the Chamber of Commerce on funding.

“These are the businesses that we tend to think of more when we think of a downtown. The experience based retail businesses are the ones that bring the character to your community,” said Daniel Lindstrom, development services director for De Pere.

It’s the fourth round of local funds the city has offered up this year, after seeing a number of entrepreneurs take advantage of the city’s Small Business Pandemic Response Loan.

“We had about 55 different businesses take advantage of that loan program,” said Lindstrom

So far, about 10 businesses have applied to receive a $5,000 chunk of the latest grant funds.

Lindstrom is reminding business owners to also get verification on the property or from the landlord if needed.

“We want to make sure that businesses are really trying to stay in business and not just trying to take the $5,000 loan and move on or pay off existing debts,” said Lindstrom.

Entrepreneurs such as Zeitler say, eventually the money comes back around to help the whole community.

“I have an amazing team, so when I’m able to pay them and then they eat out in the community, and they support small local businesses, it’s really a big circle,” said Zeitler.

Applications for this round of grants are due by December 14. Funds could be available again next year if there’s money left over.

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