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San Luis Obispo businesses 'thankful' for $5,000 fund to be used for rent, payroll, inventory

Posted at 5:31 PM, Sep 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-26 20:31:15-04

Dozens of small businesses in San Luis Obispo are getting some financial relief during the pandemic thanks to a city sponsored fund.

Out of 400 applications, 52 recipients were chosen to received $5,000 from the city's the small business relief fund.

The City partnered with The Community Foundation SLO County and SLO Chamber of Commerce to provide money for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

"Ecstatic, relieved, I think relieved is the best word I can describe," said Devin Solomon, one of the recipients of the fund.

Solomon said she plans on using the money to help with new clientele and revenue losses for her "Calling All Scouts" Daycare.

"To make sure that I could get these facility upgrades that I needed and then on top of that, my school-age kids needed a whole new revenue of materials and supplies," Solomon said.

Recipients were chosen based on an extensive screening process.

John Elliot owns Mike's Barber Shop on Broad St. in downtown SLO and is already reaping the benefits.

"Restocked our shelves, paid some back rent and the I further discounted the barber's rent for the upcoming month of October," Elliot said. "Basically, they are still sending the check out, but I pretty much spent it all before it even got here."

Others businesses, like the Central Coast Comedy Club,are expanding course material for students.

"I have leaned into my professional contacts that are comedians all over the world. We have had instructors that we never would normally have and since we are virtual, I can have my buddy in Chicago teach a course, New york, or L.A.," said Sabrina Pratt, owner and artistic director of Central Coast Comedy Theater.

For Kramer Events, business is almost non-existent, but they are keeping their hopes high and using the money to make events more COVID-19 friendly.

"For companies that want to party at the end of the year, we are re-doing all of our offerings so that we can have the right safety measures in place and we have some digital options coming out," said Beau Kramer, owner of Kramer Events.

He said he's had to downsize the business during the pandemic to keep it going in hopes that more events will come about by May of 2021.

"Things like changing our rent situation and our expenses and going through our books and asking 'What do we really need?' Now $5,000 actually means something, we can make it last that much longer and again if we can make it until next may then we can get through the storm," Kramer said.

The money came from the city's CARES Act funding and two anonymous donors.

"It feels good to be seen, to have what I'm building and what we are creating to be recognized more than just a silly comedy show, it's a community," Pratt said.

Click here for a full list of the recipients.