by Agnes Geiger
Small businesses are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, but some local help may be on the way. The Stockbridge Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has established the “Bridge to the Future COVID-19 Relief Fund” to aid businesses in the downtown TIF district. With donations from the community, the DDA hopes to provide support to as many businesses as possible during this difficult time.
“These businesses have given so much to our community over the years. It is now time for the community to give back,” said Geri Uihlein, Bridge to the Future project manager and Stockbridge DDA vice chair. “Many businesses have been able to make it through the initial round of shutdowns, but they continue to face economic uncertainty.”
Bridge to the Future will distribute grants of up to $1,000 to individual businesses in the Stockbridge DDA district that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The companies must offer in-person contact such as salons, barber shops, bars and restaurants, fitness centers, retailers and other service-oriented businesses.
Grant money can be used to pay employees or the business owner/manager, business rent or utilities, or for other business expenses.
The money will be raised through an online crowdfunding campaign using Patronicity, a Michigan platform with a solid reputation for helping communities. Blissfield, Saline, Holly and Milan previously used Patronicity to set, reach and sometimes surpass their crowdfunding goals.
Uihlein proposed the campaign at the DDA’s May 28 meeting. On June 18, the DDA appointed Teresa Miller as a consultant and budgeted $1,500 for the project. Miller specializes in marketing strategies and services, and she is the president of Total Local, which publishes marketing guides throughout the area.
Uihlein stressed the importance of donations and matching partners to make the campaign a success and help keep Stockbridge the friendly small town its residents know and love.
“Supporting these businesses through this crisis will help maintain Stockbridge’s unique character,” she said.
“By making a contribution of any size,” Uihlein continued, “you can help support local businesses, even if you’ve not been able to patronize (them) as you normally would have during this time.”
To make a direct online donation, visit: Patronicity.com/Stockbridge
If your organization could be a sponsor or matching partner, contact Uihlein at 734-644-0544 or email email@example.com.