Carroll Launches Two New Business Assistance Grant Programs

The Carroll County Board of Commissioners today approved two new business assistance grant programs to support local retailers and restaurants amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carroll Rebound II – Retail allocates $500,000 in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund funding to support small retail businesses. Carroll County Restaurant Relief allocates $1.2 million from the state’s “Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative” to help restaurants survive the pandemic.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the “Maryland Strong: Economic Recovery Initiative” — which includes a new investment of $250 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund — allocates a total of $50 million for counties to grant to local food service establishments. These funds — which counties must distribute by the end of the year — may be used for working capital, sanitization services, payroll and rent, purchase of personal protective equipment, technology upgrades, and infrastructure improvements.

“We need to get out and shop and dine local,” said Commissioner Ed Rothstein. “Restaurants and small retail are the heart of our neighborhoods and communities and their success is critical to our economic health. Although these grants may help with some of the hardships, the best way to support our community is to go out and visit our local stores and restaurants.”

To date, the County has supported small businesses, sole proprietors, farms, non-profits, and local volunteer fire departments with pandemic recovery efforts using $8.2M in federal, state, and local dollars.

According to a County press release:

Carroll Rebound II – Retail

The new Carroll Rebound II – Retail grant applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and be reviewed by an internal team; previous retail store grant awardees may apply again. Retail grant applicants must have been established in Carroll County as of March 1, 2020, be open and operating in a commercial/industrial zone, and be in good standing with the State of Maryland and Carroll County. Ineligible businesses include non-retail businesses, home-based businesses, national/regional chains and publicly traded companies/franchises. Awards will be made based on verified employment as follows:

  • Five (5) or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE*) employees – $3,000
  • Six (6) to 50 FTE employees – $5,000

*FTE employees are counted as working 30+ hours a week

A grant agreement will be executed with the grantee and grant monies must be spent by December 30, 2020. All grant documents must be kept for a period of five years.

Carroll County Restaurant Relief

The new Carroll County Restaurant Relief grant applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and be reviewed by an internal team; previous Carroll Rebound restaurant grantees are eligible for this additional grant.  Restaurants must be established in Carroll County as of March 1, 2020, be open and operating in a commercial/industrial zone, and be in good standing with the State of Maryland and Carroll County. National/regional chains, franchises, and publicly traded companies are not eligible. Breweries, distilleries, food trucks, and wineries are eligible and exempt from the zoning requirement. All grant documents must be kept for a period of five years. Awards will be based on verified employment as follows:

  • Nine (9) or fewer FTE* employees – $5,000
  • Ten (10) to 50 FTE employees $10,000

*FTE employees are counted as working 30+ hours a week

A grant agreement will be executed with the grantee and grant monies must be disbursed to restaurants by December 31, 2020.

Director of Economic Development Director Jack Lyburn shared, “We know that many retail stores and restaurants continue to face revenue shortfalls from earlier business closures and reduced business volume. The upcoming holiday season provides a great opportunity for us to support them with additional grant funding and for each of us to make a commitment to shop and dine locally.”

Both the retail and restaurant programs will allow new eligible working capital expenses of rent/mortgage and utility bills, in addition to the previous program eligible expenses of:

  • Information technology hardware/software
  • Marketing
  • Employee training
  • Commercial cleaning
  • Professional services
  • Equipment and vehicle business expenses
  • COVID-19 related expenses

Payroll expenses will be disallowed since many businesses received the federal Payroll Protection Plan funds and it is not permitted to apply federal program funds to cover costs that are accounted for in another program funding source. More information, including eligibility and applications, will be available online at https://carrollbiz.org/retail-restaurantrelief on November 3rd at 3:00 pm.

Visit the Carroll County website for more information.

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Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Hogan Announces Economic Recovery Initiative, Draws $250M from State’s Rainy Day Fund

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