COVID-19 relief aid makes pandemic candles and medical home delivery possible – GV Wire

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How about a series of “Quarantine 2020” candles to get you through the year?

Or vulnerable seniors who have their medical supplies delivered to their doorstep for free?

These are among the adaptations to COVID-19 realities that two Fresno companies have made after coaching and support, or funding through a “Save Our Small Businesses” grant from the city of Fresno.

Perfume & Fire

Scent & Fire Founder Monisha Edwards received business coaching and technical support from Fresno Metro Black Chamber in partnership with Access Plus Capital.

Monisha Edwards, Founder of Perfumes and Fire

This assistance during the pandemic has helped Scent & Fire scale to increase its monthly orders from 400 candles to over 1,000.

Edwards unveiled a new series of candles during the pandemic, Quarantine 2020, “to create unique experiences and vibrations amid the COVID-19 chaos.” Other Scent & Fire innovations: eGift Cards and downloadable playlists to accompany the candles.

Phew! We’re back online! ?? scentandfire.com

Posted by Scent & Fire Candle Co. on Thursday, May 7, 2020

The bone store

“When our world changed in March, we were really worried. We knew it would have a huge financial impact – we just didn’t know how devastating it would be. “ Karter McKinlay, CEO and Co-Owner of The Bone Store

The Bone Store is all about health and wellness. Its mission is to improve the way people walk, move, sit and sleep. The majority of clients come with a prescription or are repeat clients.

Almost overnight, the store’s main demographic were told to stay inside and not leave their homes. As a company that primarily caters to customers 65 and over, the news was concerning.

“When our world changed in March, we were really worried. We knew it would have a huge financial impact – we just didn’t know how devastating it would be, ”said Karter McKinlay, CEO and co-owner of The Bone Store.

The Bone Store received a “Save Our Small Businesses” grant from the City of Fresno. The innovations they have implemented include free home delivery, conducting business remotely, effectively communicating their new business operations to their customers, and creating new ways to keep staff working at their three locations. .

Save our small businesses

In April, city hall granted zero-interest forgivable loans of $ 5,000 and $ 10,000 to 116 businesses affected by COVID-19.

0% loans will convert to grants if a business remains open after one year.

According to city data, more than $ 8.6 million has been requested by small businesses. The loans support 485 jobs.

The list of recipients represents a representative sample of businesses: restaurants and catering, legal services, barbers and salons.

Board member Esmeralda Soria, who co-sponsored the legislation with board member Mike Karbassi, said at the time that the program was intended to help businesses unable to receive federal stimulus funds.

“A lot of small local Fresno and Pop businesses have been left out. This is why this type of program is so essential for our community, ”said Soria.

More COVID relief funding for small businesses on the way

On Monday, Fresno City Council added $ 2 million for small business relief grants to be administered by the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation.

“As a mission-driven lender, we can’t afford to turn our backs on small businesses when they need us most. “- Tate Hill, Managing Director of Access Plus Capital

A similar program administered by Fresno County received 1,359 applicants for 1,000 available grants of $ 5,000. The winners were drawn in June.

Today, the county is expected to approve an additional $ 250,000 for small businesses, also through the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation.

The grants would provide $ 5,000 for operations with less than 10 full-time employees. And a staff report says the program will prioritize “underserved minority businesses that haven’t been able to access any federal funding … and are in desperate need of capital.”

Access Plus Capital

Since its inception in 2009, the multilingual staff of Access Plus Capital have loaned more than $ 35 million to hundreds of entrepreneurs.

“As a mission-driven lender, we can’t afford to turn our backs on small businesses when they need us most,” said Tate Hill, Managing Director of Access Plus Capital. “We don’t know what the future holds for us in the coming months, but we are committed to finding innovative solutions to meet the capital and business coaching needs of our local business owners. “

Fresno CDFI dba Access Plus Capital is a subsidiary of the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission. Fresno EOC, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit community action agency, has over five decades of experience investing and helping people become self-reliant.

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