small businesses

GCAC and CAPA paid local artists to paint murals over boarded-up windows at the Ohio Theatre.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

Small businesses, bars and restaurants, low-income renters, arts groups, and colleges and universities are among those eligible for $420 million in federal pandemic dollars being released by the state this week, Gov. Mike DeWine and his fellow Republican legislative leaders announced.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, left, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Ohio's two U.S. senators are calling for Congress to pass more coronavirus relief measures, as President Trump goes back-and-forth on the possibility of new funds for people struggling during the pandemic.

A sign at A Cut Above Barbershop when it was closed this spring.
David Holm / WOSU Public Media

At the beginning of the month, Franklin County and the Columbus Urban League launched a community equity fund. The $2 million in federal CARES Act funding is meant to support Black business owners who have lost revenue since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Troy Merritt, left, and Collin Morikawa putt on the second green during a practice round for the Memorial golf tournament, with no spectators, Wednesday, July 15, 2020, in Dublin, Ohio.
Darron Cummings / Associated Press

The Memorial Golf Tournament shop door is wide open, with a chalk sign outside advertising 50% off merchandise. There are no customers inside, just two sales associates arranging golf polos and other novelty items.

CleanTurn Cleaning Services

As more companies bring workers back into the office, after months of working from home, business is also ramping up for the services that clean those buildings. 

President Trump signed legislation Saturday extending the deadline for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, enacted in the weeks following the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The original deadline to apply for the PPP was this past Tuesday night. But $130 billion still remained in the fund, out of $660 billion allocated. Both houses of Congress approved the extension unanimously earlier this week. With Trump's signature Saturday, businesses will now have until Aug. 8 to apply for the assistance.

WOSU's Letters from Home collects stories about day-to-day lives during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, we heard from Ohioans answering the question: What are you adding back to your life as Ohio reopens?

Land Grant is among the many Ohio breweries impacted by COVID-19.
David Holm / WOSU

Though Ohio never closed down breweries, the COVID-19 pandemic has touched nearly all sides of the beer industry. 

Some Over-the-Rhine businesses are open and others remain closed as the coronavirus pandemic and protests over the police killing of George Floyd continue.

Across the state of Ohio, local music venues are struggling as the coronavirus pandemic has forced these entertainment hotspots to keep operations at a standstill. Local musicians who rely on live performances to earn a steady income have suffered with planned concerts canceled or postponed indefinitely.

A man cleans the sidewalk in front of the Grandview Theater on May 14, 2020.
David Holm / WOSU

Columbus will use $5.5 million of its federal CARES Act funding for grants and loans to local small businesses.

When the federal small business rescue program was announced, Krista Kern-Desjarlais scrambled to research it, talking to her banker and digging online.

Kern-Desjarlais runs two restaurants in Maine — the Purple House in North Yarmouth and Bresca & the Honeybee, a summer-only food stand on Sabbathday Lake. She decided to hold off on that coronavirus rescue effort, called the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.

For 30 years, Cleveland screen printing company Nightsweats & T-cells has been turning out merchandise and art to support people living with HIV.

They print t-shirts and other items for events and fundraisers, particularly in the theater industry. Pandemic-driven event cancellations and theater shutdowns have thrown business into uncertainty, Gilbert Kudrin, who runs the operation, told ideastream.

For instance, Nightsweats & T-cells ships goods to New York and around the United States for the nonprofit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, he said.

The first time Rosemary Ugboajah applied for a small-business relief loan, it didn't go well. She needed the money for her small Minneapolis-based company, which has created ad campaigns for brands like the NCAA Final Four.

So she went to her credit union.

"They were hard to reach, but eventually I got through to someone and they emailed me back saying they can't process the loan because they don't process SBA loans," she said. "I wasn't aware of that."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is back in Washington along with the rest of the Senate. He's calling for changes to be made to the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program, which has been distributing millions to businesses to keep employees on the payroll during the pandemic.

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