The Connecticut and National Main Street Center is partnering with The Hartford to launch The HartBeat of Main Street program, which will provide grants between $5,000 and $15,000 to selected local business applicants.
“The way I’m looking at this is money to help businesses rebound,” Berlin Economic Development Director Chris Edge said. “So many of them never reopened or they’ve reopened so minimally that they're having issues paying the bills.”
The program is accepting 500 applications, which are due Aug. 3. All applicants must have brick and mortar store locations to be eligible and have no more than 20 employees.
Edge said he knows a handful of local businesses that still have not opened since closing because of the pandemic, but that more are in need of short term help while they continue to learn how to navigate these new rules. Some of those businesses asked him to write letters of recommendation for them, which is part of the grant application.
The money received from these grants is expected to be used for alterations to the business’ physical space to accommodate new coronavirus guidelines as well as the necessary equipment required to comply with the guidelines, fees associated with making a greater investment in online sales, operating expenses such as rent and payroll and other professional services solicited to make these adjustments.
Applications will be judged on the feasibility of the proposal; opportunity for other businesses to learn from their work; how the grant is helping the business directly adjust to the pandemic; how the grant will improve the viability of the business; how the grant will give the business potential leverage to receive more funds and the strength of its recommendation letters.
The application can be found at nationalmainstreetcenter.submittable.com.