Ottawa County: Grants aim to help businesses through pandemic

Press Staff Writer

Twenty-three small businesses in Ottawa County are receiving grants through a regional incubator program.
The Ottawa County Improvement Corp. in October launched the program to support small companies with special consideration for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Regional Incubator for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship (RISE) innovation grant program is providing $61,985 to the businesses.
The program is a collaborative initiative of the OCIC and the Ottawa County Community Foundation and is made possible by a grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
The grant award recipients include the following businesses: Bar-B-Que Traveler, Body Works Fitness Studio, Catawba Juice, Christy’s Corner Café, Clinton House, Coastal Swing Golf & Bar, Dalena Buchman Beaute, Designs by Marie, Duff’s Workshop, Frosty Bar, Jessie’s Jewelry, Kpea Original, Lake Erie Island Nature & Wildlife Center, Lilly & Gert’s, Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rental, Pisanello’s Pizza, R Coffee Corner, Radiant Remodeling, Root to Rise, Salon 53, Spa Catawba, Whimsy & Blue and Wine Flight.
Applicants were asked to provide information on the impact COVID-19 has had on their business, propose “innovation or strategic investment” for sustainability and growth, and provide a plan to ensure intended objectives are met.
“By purchasing the "pay at the table" app, this will allow customers to scan a barcode on their guest check and pay with their phone,” said Kim Stoiber Morrison, owner of Frosty Bar. “This will speed up the customer payments, allow for more secure payments, and free up server time for a better customer service experience, which is something we in hospitality need to lure customers back into our businesses.”
Mike Shadoan, owner of Radiant Remodeling, Oak Harbor, said the grant will enable companies to invest in their business and workforce.
“We appreciate the fact that the RISE Small Business Innovation Grant has spurred this funding program to initiate new ideas for investing in our companies and our workforce to try and adapt in this fast-changing environment to stay competitive and thrive,” he said.
Dina Rodgers, owner of Lilly & Gert’s, said the additional funding made it possible to fast track planned upgrades in inventory tracking.
“We initiated phase one of our strategic investment in July by acquiring our current Clover, E-Commerce inventory tracking and sales system. Without the RISE grant funding, we didn’t anticipate being able to initiate phase two of our planned E-Commerce project for at least another year,” she said.
“Our small businesses really took a hit this year and we believe this grant program will provide those businesses with the necessary improvements needed to grow their business,” said Jessica Grzechowiak, Program & Office Coordinator for the OCIC. “Since this is a new program for the OCIC, the Ottawa County Community Foundation and the Erie County Economic Development Corporation have been very supportive partners throughout this entire process. We hope to continue this grant program on an annual basis.”
RISE is a program of the Erie County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with Bowling Green State University and Norwalk Economic Development Corporation.


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