Small businesses in downtown South Boston will get a boost to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to $25,000 in grant funding recently awarded to Destination Downtown South Boston.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s office on Tuesday afternoon announced the award of $278,000 in Virginia Main Street Downtown Investment Grants to 18 communities throughout the Commonwealth, including South Boston.
Tamyra Vest, executive director of Destination Downtown South Boston explained that the grant funding would provide “vital economic support to our small businesses to help them overcome the temporary loss of revenue they have experienced.”
“The small businesses in downtown South Boston are vital economic engines in our community who have been severely impacted by COVID-19,” Vest said. “Destination Downtown South Boston wants to assist our small businesses with training and help them navigate through a recovery plan.”
Vest added funding would be available to downtown businesses attending training sessions and meetings.
The Department of Housing and Community Development administers Virginia Main Street grants, which can be used toward “implementing innovative strategies, plans and programs, capacity building, or design projects that help stimulate increased private investment,” according to a news release on Northam’s announcement of the grants.
“Downtown districts are the lifeblood of our communities and our local economies, and they need our support now more than ever,” Governor Northam said, in his announcement of the grants. “Main Street communities across the Commonwealth have been greatly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and these grants will provide critical assistance to help small businesses stay afloat and advance Virginia’s economic recovery.”
Vest said Destination Downtown South Boston plans to partner with Longwood Small Business Development Center to offer training sessions to downtown businesses, on topics such as “Marketing – Advice to Combat an Economic Downturn,” “Finance – Paying the bills due to the slowdown in revenues related to COVID-19” and “Life after COVID-19 – Ways entrepreneurs can bounce back when they feel like quitting.”
In addition, Vest said Destination Downtown South Boston plans to start holding monthly “What’s Up Downtown” merchant meetings, in which business owners can offer support to each other and share ideas about how to survive in a challenging economic climate.
“Businesses can learn about their strengths and weaknesses, new options for working with each other, and ways they can shape their destiny,” Vest offered.
Vest also commented that even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has supported local restaurants and businesses, and that has meant a great deal to the survival of those businesses.