Sunshine and Over $50K to Four Small Businesses on the First Day of Summer
On the longest day of the year, the Morris County Board of County Commissioners delivered small business grants in the shortest time yet during a one-hour tour of Denville and Boonton.
Morris County Commissioner Stephen Shaw presented the first of four Morris County Small Business Grant Program checks this morning to Jane Di Maria of Jane’s Hair Salon on Route 46 West in Denville.
Her business had to close for three months in 2020 and struggled to regain clientele in the years that followed.
“Thank you. It’s great to be surviving it all. This helps,” Di Maria said, after receiving a check for more than $6,000.
Salons, spas, and other personal care, grooming, and exercise businesses faced heavy losses even after the state-ordered lockdowns were lifted in 2020, as social-distancing requirements forced many to reduce the number of customers permitted inside their operations.
Suyoung Jun, owner of Nail Xpressions at Hawkins Place Plaza in Boonton, noted his business still had to pay rent while working through a downturn in customers. Suyoung Jun received a $15,000 grant.
“New Jersey lost a third of its small businesses. We created this grant program to help those who survived and who are struggling to survive,” Commissioner Shaw told the grant recipients during his visits today.
In talking with some business owners, Shaw noted that many survived by spending through savings and “cushion” funds designed to carry them through the normal course of a business year. The pandemic and aftermath challenged small business owners with much longer periods of losses.
“That was the problem,” said Bill Bottino of Four 3 Performance Laboratory Corp., a physical therapy business off Woonton Street in Boonton.
Bottino’s company not only closed during the shutdown but saw clientele visits drop whenever a COVID-19 spike was reported. Four 3 Performance Laboratory Corp qualified for a full $15,000 grant.
“We bled out so much money after that, just trying to keep the doors open, and we were not busy enough to cover the bills. Every payroll was getting chewed away. So this is the best time ever to have something to replenish all that,” Bottino explained.
Laurel Durenberger, owner of the antique and vintage gift shop called Time’s Tin Cup on Main Street in Boonton, also qualified for a full $15,000 grant.
She noted that her business was shut down for four months during the pandemic, yet she still needed to pay her rent and eventually moved to her current location.
“It’s been like a trauma. But I survived,” she said, noting her grant will help, in part, to cover the cost of shelves required to clearly display her merchandise in the smaller, new space.
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners created and launched the grant program on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, with $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Small businesses and nonprofits alike are invited to apply. Most successful applicants have received the full $15,000 permitted in the grant program.
Apply for the Morris County Small Business Grant program here.
Morris County Commissioners have been delivering some of the grant checks to continue raising awareness of the Morris County Small Business Grant program which still has more than $2 million in grants available.