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Norwalk awards $5K grants to 30 small businesses

Mayor Harry Rilling, Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development Jessica Vonashek (formerly Jessica Casey) and Director of Business Development & Tourism Sabrina Church use a lottery to name 30 businesses as winners of COVID-19 Small Business Grants.

NORWALK, Conn. — Thirty small Norwalk businesses were chosen to receive $5,000 grants Thursday, out of 234 applicants.

The COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program was funded by $75,000 the Economic and Community Development department “found” in the budget and $75,000 from contingency funds, Norwalk Chief of Economic and Community Development Jessica Vonashek, formerly Jessica Casey, said.

“Not only was it a really great effort to be able to award grants to … the businesses themselves but it was also a really great snapshot for us to be able to reach out to the community, learn more about the businesses, learn more about what they’re experiencing, and also really get a great sense of, of the community as a whole and the camaraderie that’s going on out there even though the pandemic is still with us,” she said.

That there were 234 applicants “just goes to show that the need is real,” Mayor Harry Rilling said. “A lot of businesses are struggling, they’re not able to open and when they are able to open, they’re not able to conduct their full operation. And while we wish we could do so much more.”

Director of Business Development & Tourism Sabrina Church, Rilling and Vonashek used a virtual spinning wheel to choose the winners:

  1. Ride Share/Actor Biz
  2. The Chamo
  3. CP Piercing
  4. Marval USA
  5. Piasecki & Company
  6. College Admissions Coaching, LLC
  7. Color Cafe North
  8. F45 Training South Norwalk
  9. Utopia
  10. Los Portales South Main Street
  11. Blackstones Steakhouse
  12. Superior Limousine
  13. Mira Mar Cafe
  14. Hype Room
  15. Sexton Lighting Design
  16. A.B.Baekey Architecture + Design, LLC
  17. Match Restuarant
  18. LeeAnn DeLeo, Realtor – Kinard Realty Group
  19. Oman’s Garden Center
  20. Marie’s Kitchen
  21. The Drawing Deck
  22. Soluma MultiService
  23. O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant
  24. JA Custom Woodwork, LLC
  25. Rockbottom Furniture & Flooring
  26. Durty Jerk
  27. The Dilly Duck Shop
  28. Safe and Sound Daycare, LLC
  29. Palace Production Center
  30. JB’s Deli

 

Rilling said the administration knows the $5,000 is “not a tremendous amount of money, but it’s something and it will help. We hope that in the long run, the federal government’s able to do more to help us get our economy back up and running. But in the meantime, this little token of our appreciation for businesses and understanding the need, we hope will help out someone.”

Of the 234 applicants, 38% “have not received any assistance whatsoever,” he said. Also:

  • 44% are minority owned
  • 39% are owned by women
  • 24 are restaurants
  • 12 are retail
  • 10 are in professional services

 

Businesses with less than 25 employees qualified.

“I wish we could give $5,000 grants, or more, to all 234 businesses,” Rilling said. “Unfortunately, that’s not able to be done at this time. But like I said let’s keep our fingers crossed. Let’s hope that the federal government comes through.”

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