Local businesses receive ‘Ready for Business’ grant

Arkansas News

UNION/ASHLEY CO. (055/29/20) — More than 10,000 people in the state of Arkansas have been awarded the ‘Ready for Business’ grant including many in the southeast and southwest.

Ac coronavirus cases continue to rise, businesses are trying to continue operations the best they can. Some of them have had to lean on state resources to get by.

Approximately 125 businesses in Union County and 60 businesses in Ashley County were given various amounts of grant money to buy supplies including personal protective equipment, no-contact thermometers, no-contact point-of-sale payment equipment, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer stations.

Charlie’s Corner Corner in El Dorado received $2,500 from the state. Brenda Miller, owner of the hair salon, is grateful for what she received.

“I’m going to try to use as much of it as I need and if there’s some that I don’t need to use for the things, then I’ll pay it back,” Miller said.

Miller’s business was closed for almost two months but before then customer volume began slowing down during a usually busy time of the year.

Miller received an email notice about 10 days after she applied informing her she was awarded of the grant. The amount has just been deposited into her account this week.

The money can’t be used for rent or salaries. Only for expenses that were generated to reopen.

“I had to have someone come in and do a thorough sanitizing and cleaning,” Miller said. “So, the expense of that as well as the products we have to have, more capes for clients and products we use on towels for clients. All of those things taken into account, there’s a good bit of expense involved.”

Mandy White, co-owner of Arnet Computer Services in Crossett, says her and her husband’s tech store was also among the thousands of recipients.

There were just 60 other businesses in Ashley County that received some form of aid.

“I was excited about that for people in our town because our town is made up primarily with businesses of 50 employees or under,” she said.

Arnet has continued to remain open during this pandemic but expenses have picked up since many people have remained open.

The business has received more service calls from areas outside of Crossett forcing them to add gas expenses to their budget.

According to the Arkansas Department of Commerce, the Ready for Business program received 12,234 applications. 201 applications were withdrawn or the business was determined to be ineligible and almost 1,500 businesses have been approved but are waiting for funding because of voided checks or missing forms.

Read the full list of recipients here.

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