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Jackson small business owners may soon get relief from state grant program

Posted at 7:56 PM, Jan 18, 2021

JACKSON, Mich. — Small business owners affected by state shutdowns may soon be able to find some relief.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded Jackson county $704,000 in grants to help those affected by state shutdowns, part of the $55 million statewide Small Business Survival Grant Program.

Empty seats have become an all too familiar scene for restaurant owners like Mike Carrigan, who owns Jackson restaurant Junkyard Dog.

“Wow, we were just kind of getting used to the fact of having people to smile at not just a quick conversation here," Carrigan said. "They pick up. It’s very unfriendly. And dry. They come in. They pick up their food.”

Even though Junkyard Dog is trying to get by through take-out, Carrigan said they are getting behind on bills.

He's hoping the MEDC grant can bring some much-needed relief.

“Right now, we’re a month behind on our rent here, so that will help us get caught up here getting everything else going and bring in some more supplies and getting ready for the Feb. 1 reopening," said Carrigan.

Carrigan says anything would help after seeing business drop by 50 percent last year.

“A lot of it is because a lot of the businesses around here have sent their employees home to do their work from home, so a lot of our foot traffic from here is gone," said Carrigan.

He's also lost event business.

"Art shows, car shows, different things like that," said Carrigan. "The Gus Macker, all of those things have been canceled this year, so that takes a huge chunk out of our business throughout the summer.”

Applications start Tuesday.

Jackson officials say they will work to get money to as many people as possible.

“Well, there is a review committee that will be looking at all of the applications," said Alexandra Masten, vice president of economic development for the Jackson Enterprise Group. "We do anticipate that there will be a high..a lot of people that are applying of course. There’s only $704,000 so we’ll try our best to grant those funds to as many businesses as possible.”

Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties each will receive a share of the more than $3 million awarded to the Lansing Economic Area Partnership.

Although Carrigan plans to apply for the grant, it is no guarantee he will receive it nor will it match the money he'd have made in a year without a pandemic.