$2.4 million Cares Act Recovery Assistance Grant aims to aid Northwest Ohio businesses

A multi-million dollar assistance grant has been given to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority And that money will soon be up for grabs to those needing it most.
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 11:41 PM EST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - What do a burger bar, a bridal boutique, and a tattoo parlor all have in common? They’re all small businesses hit hard by the pandemic and are looking for any help they can get.

“We didn’t know what the next day was going to hold,” said the owner of bridal shop “Dress For a Day”: Rachelle Spencer. “And we certainly knew in the wedding industry it was going to be impacted, we just didn’t know how.”

“You know it was hard not knowing what was going on you know and when we would resume a partially normal life,: said the owner of tattoo shop “Murder Inc.”: Joe Frias.

“We did take a hit at the beginning of it but now we’re getting back to where we need to be,” said manager of bar and restaurant “Beckett’s”: Blake Reeder.

Bowling Green businesses are doing their best to bounce back. Employees and staff 13abc spoke with say the biggest boost that has helped them stay afloat and regain their strength has come courtesy of federal grants like the Cares Act.

“The assistance we’ve received up to this point has really been a nice thing for us,” said Rachelle Spencer. “To be able to keep our bills paid and stay open and be able for our brides to have help finding dresses for their special day is an incredible thing.

Owners like husband-and-wife Rachelle Spencer and Mark Huffstutler of Dress for a Day say receiving Cares Act assistance is the reason their doors are still open. They say it’s helped their small business colleagues across Wood County.

Husband-and-wife Rachelle Spencer and Mark Huffstutler opened "Dress for a Day" in January in...
Husband-and-wife Rachelle Spencer and Mark Huffstutler opened "Dress for a Day" in January in Bowling Green after previously operating a bridal boutique under the same name in Dayton .(Jack Bassett)

And now a second wave of help has arrived for businesses in need.

“So now additional capital to help preserve job opportunities and job growth will be critical as we recover from the pandemic and other challenges in the community,” President & Chief Executive Officer of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Thomas Winston.

Winston and officials with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority announced this week that the agency has received $2.4 million dollars from the US Department of Commerce and Economic Development. The money will be available for businesses in Lucas, Ottawa, and Wood counties.

Business owners say the support comes as both a blessing and a surprise.

“I didn’t know that there was actually something that was going to be available,” said Joe Frias. “That is definitely something that is nice to know.”

“It helps us keep our head above the water so to speak,” said Mark Huffstutler. “You know we’re not talking about inventory, we’re just talking about keeping the lights on and the bills paid.”

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