TRI-CITEIS, Wash. –
Businesses are still recovering from some of the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Benton County is working with the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce to help local businesses recover through money from grants.
“The closures and the mandates were over but there were still so many effects that they were experiencing from that time and so our office worked with Benton County commissioners to provide these $3millionin funding for Benton County businesses,” BRI Grant Coordinator Tracie Boothe said.
Business Resource Initiative grants, or BRI grants, are giving businesses a chance to receive money three different times over the course of a year. The first started in October, ending in December.
Some businesses have already received funding to help their business with some of the continued impacts from the pandemic.
“This year, actually, was a slower year for us, this last year, than it was even when we were shut down for COVID for a little while so out of all the, you know, post pandemic stuff this was actually the toughest year out of all three,” Jason Bergan Owner of Bergan’s Timeless Treasures said.
The store has already been working on staying up to date hoping to give more people a way to shop at their store.
Bergan says the money is helping their store in part with some remodeling inside and giving them an opportunity to update their storefront both physically and digitally, giving people an opportunity to bid on auctions online.
Businesses can get anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000 to help with utility assistance hiring bonuses, and even help funding training.
Bergam said the first hurdle in getting the grant was making sure all of his paper work was correct.
“We had a hard time with some of our paper work got a little confusing for us, I’m getting old, but we called they answered in the first couple rings no recordings no nothing and helped us walk through it.They were super friendly, very helpful and made sure we applied correctly and I think that was the biggest part of it,” Bergan said.
For those looking to apply, the deadline for this round of funding is February 28th, with another round of funding starting in June according to the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce. A presentation will be held Monday February 13 from 6pm-7pm at the Richland public Library to help those looking to apply.
“What this has done for us is allowed us to maybe put in fast forward some things that’ll do to help you know revitalize our store, revitalize part of downtown Kennewick and maybe get us out of our hole a little bit quicker than it could have, you know, just doing it on our own,” Bergan said.