CARES Act relief grant offering relief for Florence small businesses

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FLORENCE, Ala. — The Florence First Relief Grant was first announced during a city COVID-19 briefing in May.

Planning and Community Development Director Melissa Bailey said the grant provides cost reimbursement to as many small businesses as possible to help bridge the gap during the pandemic.

Grants were awarded over the summer but not every business that applied received funding due to a limited amount.

“Just on the off chance that we were to receive additional funding, we put them at an alternate status,” Bailey said. “If we get some more funding, you guys will be the first ones we go to.” And they did.

Those alternate businesses waiting for funding will benefit from an additional $244,000 for Florence First.

Mayor Steve Holt said he’s excited to see how the grants are helping the businesses get through the pandemic. “I cannot think of a better use for what we’ve done than to put this money back into our community with our small businesses,” Holt said.

Thirty-seven businesses received funding during the first round, including Cafe 222, Odette, and The Mailing room—which was set to open in March but delayed until May.

“That was almost probably two months of expenses I still had but without the store being open, no profit coming in, so that made it difficult to cover those and the grant probably saved me to be able to open when I did,” said Mailing Room Owner Madeline Albright.

The City of Florence is ready to provide that support for even more business owners, however, before businesses can new applications are considered, Bailey said the city will first go through the list of alternates from the first round to verify that their information is still relevant.

For the Florence First application, click here.

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