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CARES grant funding awarded to 78 local businesses

Marshall EDA says applicants included retail, hospitality and service businesses

MARSHALL — Over a half-million dollars in funding from the CARES Act went to help a total of 78 Marshall businesses this summer and fall, Marshall EDA Director Lauren Deutz said.

“Overall, we are very happy with who we are able to impact with these grants,” Deutz said. “We think that was able to help keep some people afloat in these difficult times.”

On Tuesday, Deutz gave Marshall City Council members an update on the CARES grant program for Marshall businesses and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns. The city of Marshall had received a total of $1.03 million in funding from the federal CARES Act, and in July council members allocated $500,000 to go toward aid for businesses.

Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson said the city used remaining CARES funding for COVID-19 related and personnel expenses. The city was able to use the funding for purposes including public safety, as well as providing some funding to the convention and visitors bureau, Marshall Municipal Utilities, United Community Action Partnership, and the Marshall-Lyon County Library, Hanson said.

Deutz said a total of $529,461 was awarded to 78 different businesses and nonprofits, in two rounds of funding.

“A majority of our business community has been impacted by both the pandemic and the multitude of executive orders which have restricted regular business operations,” Deutz said. “Our goal was to prioritize the funds to the businesses with the greatest need before opening the grant up to less restricted eligibility.”

In the first round of grants, which closed in August, 47 applications were funded, at a total of $327,500. The second round of grants in September received an additional 31 applicants. After the Marshall City Council extended the program funding, the 78 grants came to a total of $529,461.47.

The grant program was able to help businesses in industries like retail, hospitality, and health and beauty services, as well as local nonprofit organizations.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have monitored business activity in the community closely,” said Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes. “The survival of small businesses is crucial not only for our economy but for community morale. This grant has allowed us to provide much-needed support during these uncertain times.”

Deutz said the majority of CARES grant funding was able to help retailers including 12 downtown businesses. The grants also went to help businesses ranging from salons to dental offices and chiropractors. Many of these service-based businesses were closed for months, or had operation restrictions, by executive orders from Gov. Tim Walz.

“With all the struggles we have encountered during the pandemic, this grant offered us financial hope to continue serving our customers and the community,” said downtown business owner Beth Blomme.

“I am so incredibly thankful for receiving the CARES grant,” said Evolution of Beauty owner Amanda Pudil. “I absolutely love what I do for a living and this allowed me to have some relief in the uncertain times that we are in.”

Grants were also awarded to nonprofit organizations providing educational, spiritual and cultural opportunities for the community. For example, funds from a CARES grant helped the Marshall Area YMCA to partner with Marshall Public Schools to create a distance learning center for children of essential workers.

“We really appreciated the extra funding,” said Marshall Area YMCA CEO Tom Bolin. “It allowed us to be part of a community-wide system that provides the best educational experience possible during these trying times.”

“We are proud of the positive impact we were able to make with the Marshall CARES grant program. But as the pandemic continues, we know that the work is not done,” Deutz said. She said the EDA is working towards getting additional assistance for businesses that are being restricted again in the latest executive order. The EDA encourages people to continue shopping local to help support their community.

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