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Downtown Kalamazoo and COVID-19

As  various policies have been enacted across the state, Downtown Kalamazoo businesses have felt the impact in their lives and bottom lines.  We know that during this time, the public health is a top priority, but there are still simple ways to support downtown businesses right now to ensure they are still there when orders allow businesses to reopen. Join us in supporting downtown businesses.  

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1

SHOP LOCAL

Most important, support downtown businesses by shopping local - purchase gift cards, shop online, or order takeout. Your purchase now helps businesses make it through until they are able to reopen again.

See Business Updates below.

2

BUY DOWNTOWN DOLLARS

Purchase Downtown Dollars that can be redeemed at 30+ downtown businesses – use yourself or give them as a gift to family and friends.

Buy Downtown Dollars

3

MAKE A DONATION

Give a tax deductible donation to the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, a 501(c)3. Donations received go to initiatives that directly support businesses.

Make a donation

 

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Back to Business Downtown Visitor Survey

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership distributed an online survey to downtown visitors to assess customer comfortability as businesses begin to reopen and adopt new practices and operations in response to COVID-19.

The survey was open from June 16, 2020 to June 30, 2020, and distributed via the organizational newsletter (3,440 subscribers), and via social media channels (50K+ followers). The survey took an average of 5 minutes to complete.

View the Survey Findings

COVID-19 downtown business impact assessment

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership distributed an online survey to downtown businesses to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the downtown economy, identify how the Partnership can advocate on behalf of downtown businesses, and inform our initiatives and services to support downtown businesses going forward.

The survey was open from May 14, 2020 to May 31, 2020, and distributed via the organization’s business list (256 subscribers), newsletter (3,440 subscribers), and via social media channels (50K+ followers). The survey included 26 questions and took an average of 7 minutes to complete.

View the Survey Findings 

Downtown Kalamazoo Outdoor Experience Program

A newly-announced initiative developed collaboratively between Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership and the City of Kalamazoo offers businesses creative and flexible opportunities to use public space for dining, retail sales, and services.

Designed as a district-wide special event, “The Outdoor Experience” allows businesses the opportunity to use sidewalk space and on-street parking spaces to install dining, shopping, or service areas, providing both a unique experience, and additional space to offset capacity restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.

Learn more and apply

Downtown Dollars

For the remainder of 2020, the Partnership will waive all administrative fees for businesses related to Downtown Dollars. Businesses will get 100 percent of Downtown Dollars submitted, and the Partnership will absorb all administrative costs.

Personal Protective Equipment

As the downtown community prepares to reopen businesses amid COVID-19, the need for personal protection equipment (PPE) in all industries has become the new normal. As you look for PPE to protect your employees, please consider purchasing locally - as you know, small businesses need the support now more than ever before.

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership has compiled a list of resources of local companies and individuals who are making and selling personal protective equipment. Additionally, make sure to check out our partner Southwest Michigan First's list of regional PPE suppliers.

Company Location PPE Product(s)
Agio Imaging
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
269-226-4000
Kalamazoo Sneeze Guards
Bell's Brewery
Website
269-382-5712
Kalamazoo Hand Sanitizer
Continental Linen Services
Website
Kalamazoo Hand Sanitizer
Face Masks
Disposable Gloves
Microfiber Cleaning Towels
Green Door Distilling Company
Website | Email
269-312-8900
Kalamazoo Sanitizer
Harbor Industries
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
636-244-1331
Grand Haven Protective shield products
Sanitation Stations
House of Pariah
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
269-226-4000
Kalamazoo Face Masks
Kalamazoo Stillhouse
Website
269-376-0937
Kalamazoo Hand Sanitizer
Kzoo Sewn
Website
Kalamazoo Face Masks
LFW Office Solutions
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
269-888-2770
Kalamazoo Face masks
Singh Automation
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
269-312-8900
Portage Sanitizer
Tekna
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
269-3978-3500
Kalamazoo Face Shields
The Station: Dancewear and Studio
Website
Kalamazoo Face Masks
Woolly Mammoth Design
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kalamazoo Face masks

Federal Resources

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. This over $2 trillion economic relief package delivers on the Trump Administration’s commitment to protecting the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserve jobs for our American industries.

The package provides $350 billion for 100-percent federally-guaranteed loans for eight weeks of assistance to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals are also eligible for these loans.

Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.

Resources from the Office of Congressman Fred Upton:

State Resources

Michigan Small Business Restart Program

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) yesterday approved a $100 million program that will provide grants to Michigan small businesses working to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 virus. The Michigan Small Business Restart Program will support Michigan’s small businesses that are reopening and have experienced a loss of income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Our region received $7,545,455 which will be allocated by Southwest Michigan First to qualifying small businesses and nonprofits throughout seven counties. Additionally, at least 30% of the funds awarded under the program must be provided to women-owned, minority-owned, or veteran-owned eligible businesses

To qualify for grant support, businesses must meet the following criteria, based on statutory requirements for the program:

  • Has 50 employees or less
  • Is a business or nonprofit that can demonstrate it is affected by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Needs working capital to support eligible expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as result of the COVID-19 emergency
  • Has not received a grant through the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Michigan Small Business Relief Program. Businesses who have received support through other COVID-19 relief programs, including the Michigan Small Business Relief Program loans, are eligible to apply for Restart grants.

The Michigan Small Business Restart Program application will go live starting July 15 and run through August 5. Funds can be used as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses. Small businesses should mark their calendars now.

Learn more and apply
Michigan Small Business Relief Grants

Michigan Small Business Relief Grants will provide up to $10 million in grant funding to one or more local economic development organizations or nonprofit economic development organizations to provide grants up to $10,000 to support certain small businesses statewide that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Amounts per lead local economic development partner will be determined based on potential impact per region. Southwest Michigan First has been allotted $800,000.

Eligible businesses means that:

  • business is in downtown and high-impact corridors;
  • have 50 employees or fewer;
  • need working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business; and
  • able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.

If the business has more than 50 employees, they might qualify for a loan.

Learn more and apply today

MWF Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund

Michigan Women Forward, announced a new initiative to help entrepreneurs safely reopen their businesses in this new normal. With the generous support of MEDC, the SBA, NEI, and many notable corporate and individual donors, Michigan Women Forward launched the 1.5 million Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund to provide both grants and loans to entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups.

The Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund is intended to support small businesses as they recover from unprecedented COVID-19 business closures. Grants and microloans will provide gap funding to ensure businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis, pivot to meet new or changed demand, or reopen their business quickly and safely when the executive order is lifted.

Learn more and apply today

MI Local Biz (MEDC)

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in conjunction with the Detroit-based crowdfunding platform, Patronicity, has developed “MI Local Biz”, a creative funding mechanism to offer quick access to capital for small local businesses in this great time of need. The MEDC will match crowdfunding raises on a 1:1 basis up to $5,000 for eligible small businesses experiencing economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.

Learn more and apply today.


Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center has a number of resources available to small businesses including information on and applications for SBA Disaster Loans, personalized consulting, and multiple business support webinars.

Visit their website.

Local Resources

Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund

The new Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund, a partnership from The City of Kalamazoo, Michigan and United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region provides urgent relief to small businesses via low-interest loans of between $5,000 and $50,000 with approval and payment expected in a matter of days. Loans could be used to cover operational expenses, payroll, and benefits.

The total term of each loan will be 36 months. No payments will be required for six months, followed by a fully amortizing 30-month term at an interest rate of 1%. Applications will be reviewed for approval by an advisory board consisting of economic development and community representatives. The review is expected to take place weekly with a goal to wire funds as early as two days after receiving an application. This program is emergency relief and is intended to be temporary, with loans being made until approved grant funds are exhausted or its closure by the partners.

Learn more and apply today.


Kalamazoo Micro-Enterprise Grants

Kalamazoo Micro-Enterprise Grants (KMEG) provide $5,000 grants to eligible microbusinesses within the city limits. The $500,000 grant program is designed to bring relief to Kalamazoo's smallest businesses hit hardest by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is a partnership between the City of Kalamazoo and United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region with support from the Consumers Energy Foundation and the city's Foundation For Excellence.

The application window is noon on May 13, 2020, through 5 p.m. May 27, 2020.

Learn more and apply today.


Kiva

Kiva, a non-profit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world, is also answering the call to support struggling businesses looking for a 0% interest loan up to $15,000 prepared.

If your businesses is not already a Kiva Trustee-endorsed project, local members of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) can help you get an endorsement. Contact a LISC member that supports your type of business to learn more to start your application:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Food-based businesses
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Any business type in the city of Kalamazoo
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Any business type in the city of Kalamazoo
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Any business type in the city of Kalamazoo

Technical Resources

Southwest Michigan First - Back to Business | Back on Board Webinar

The Southwest Michigan First Chamber will be back on Friday, May 15 at 9:30 am for their second call in a series of small business discussions, titled “Back to Business | Back on Board,” that will continue throughout the month of May.

Please join the Southwest Michigan First Chamber for an update from Chris Lampen-Crowell of Gazelle Sports, Kevin Brozovich of Rose Street Advisors and Todd McDonald of CSM Group to help us explore how businesses have had to rethink their previous business models in order to survive under new conditions.

After hearing from the panelists, participants will spend the second half of our time together in small breakout groups where they will reflect on the presented material and chat about how to move our businesses forward.

Click here to register


Discover Kalamazoo - Communication and Marketing Strategies Webinar

Discover Kalamazoo, in partnership with TwoSix Digital, is offering the last of its three-part educational webinar series to the community to learn more about effective marketing strategies in this changing environment.

On Wednesday, May 20 at 1 p.m., join “The Dos and Don’ts of Successful Content Marketing.” Brian Matson with TwoSix Digital will walk attendees through a series of dos and don'ts to successfully leverage social media channels and online audiences to take their marketing efforts to the next level. Hear his take on the top things you need to be doing right now to jumpstart your business during these challenging times.

Click here to register


SCORE

Webinars

The Michigan Small Business Development Center has a variety of webinar recordings available to you at no cost. We encourage you to register for other online and in-person workshops.

Click here to register

Real-time Mentoring

To answer business owners’ questions quickly in the fast-changing landscape of COVID-19, SCORE mobilized a new, faster way to work with mentors.

Their Real-Time Mentoring platform is an online, interactive environment where you can connect with expert SCORE mentors LIVE. Mentors will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. ET.

Click here to learn more