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Mentor Offering Rent Reimbursement To Small Businesses Impacted By COVID-19

Help covering rent and mortgage payments is coming to small businesses in Mentor under a new grant program designed to help reopen the local economy.

The Mentor Small Business Restart Program is focusing on small, local storefronts that had no opportunity to collect revenue during the shutdown, said Mentor’s Director of Economic Development and International Trade Kevin Malecek.

“We really wanted to try to do something for businesses within Mentor that had been completely shut down, had absolutely no ability to have any income,” Malecek said.

In order to apply, a business needs a brick-and-mortar storefront in Mentor. It must be independently owned and operated and have 25 or fewer employees. Any business that violated a government order to close is not eligible.

Qualifying businesses can apply for reimbursement on May rent or mortgage payments, totaling up to $500. The storefronts must be reopened and operating for 30 days before the grant money is distributed.

“These are for places that couldn’t do any economic activity whatsoever,” Malecek said. “As we put the program together, we wanted it to be an encouragement to restart.”

The city can supply up to $200,000 dollars for the program through its Community Development Block Grant. Mentor already has received about 60 applications, half of which have been approved so far.

There’s no set deadline to apply, Malecek said.

“Some [businesses] were just reopening today, as a matter of fact,” Malecek said. “If they get the various documentation in, in June, in July – there’s not really a time limit. It’s more of a limitation of funds that we have available.”

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