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Small Business Association of Michigan offering grants to ‘winterize’ outdoor setup

Grant aims to help qualified small businesses purchase supplies for the perfect outdoor setup this winter
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 11:02 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (11/18/2020) - Mid-Michigan restaurants are adapting to the newest restrictions.

Their indoor dining might be closed, but now they’re reinventing outdoor dining in a way that is unique to Michigan’s bitter-cold winter season.

One association is actually encouraging small businesses to do this, offering a way to help make it happen.

In the next few weeks, you can expect to see more outdoor setups with igloos and heaters, but as you can imagine, it costs a pretty penny. The Small Businesses Association of Michigan is doing their part to help small businesses during such a tough year.

“We have private tables on the inside of each igloo. We’re going to be hopefully adding some more seating out front with some more heaters, and so you’ll have independent seating. You have a comfortable space that is warm,” Joshua Spencer said. Spencer is the owner of Café Rhema in Flint.

Like other small businesses trying to navigate a winter in 2020, Spencer is spending thousands of dollars on an outdoor setup.

Money that’s already been tough to come up with this year.

“It’s a hard year for everyone. Restaurants are having a hard time this whole year, and now on top of this, they have another shutdown where we have to get creative in the cold weather for our outdoor area,” Spencer said.

Then, there was some saving grace. A grant helping qualified small businesses purchase what they need for the perfect outdoor setup this winter with essentials like canopies, igloos, portable heaters, and outdoor furniture.

“To have a grant available to help small businesses to pay for some of the thousands of dollars of equipment and tents and heaters that we have to put out is a huge help,” Spencer said.

The application was open on Wednesday at noon and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday night.

While Spencer waits a couple weeks to hear about the status of his application for his coffee shop, he’s counting on the community to continue supporting local.

“Small businesses everywhere are really struggling this year, and it’s been hard. It’s been hard to make ends meet, so we really need the community to come together. We can work together and all of us support small businesses to help keep us open,” Spencer said.

To see see the list of qualified small business, visit the flyer here.

To apply, click here.

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