Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Kyle W. Heine, owner of Heine Dental, has seen the price of gloves, a daily essential for his business, sky rocket as they are now part of PPE in many other businesses.
“A box of gloves that was $6 is now going for $60 or $70 box,” he said.
Heine’s is one of 24 businesses around Metropolis to receive a City of Metropolis Economic Support Grant. The $62,000 in total funds — ranging from $900 to $3000 — were dispersed Feb. 5.
“This was a welcome assist,” Heine said. “It helps us not take other loans out to help pay for PPE. I’m sure it’s been a help to the the small businesses that received it. It was nice to get this help from the program.”
City of Metropolis Economic Support Grant recipients are: Yesterday’s Home Cookin’; WOW Vintage, LLC; West End Plaza; Waterway Ag Inc.; Super City Antiques & Collectibles; Studio A Hair Salon; Split End Salon; Sixth and Vintage Boutique and Marketplace; Silver Collections; Salon Envy; River Ag of Illinois; Ribbons & Beaus, LLC; ReFind A Junktique Market; Helton’s Edge; Dr. Kyle W. Heine; Bliss Bodyworks Spa; The Zone; Super City Bar & Grill; Super Museum Historic Foundation Inc.; Green Rock Productions Inc.; Southgate Health Care, Inc.; Cordavino’s Italian Kitchen; Burnham’s Collision Center and Towing; and Sheila’s Strong Styles.
“I’ve seen and heard a lot of people thanking Chad Murray for his work on the small business loans for COVID relief,” alderman Jeremy Holley said during the Feb. 8 Metropolis City Council meeting. “I think he and everybody else who has helped with that deserves a ‘job well done.’ The businesses seem to be thankful.”
Murray, the city’s planning and zoning administrator, sat up and filed the City of Metropolis Economic Support Grant program at the end of last year after the city was notified by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) it had been approved for $60,000 to provide reimbursement of COVID-19 related expenses — rent, mortgage, utilities, winterization projects for outdoor operations, personal protective equipment (PPE) and interior changes incurred from March 1 through Dec. 30, 2020 — to local businesses rejected during initial funding rounds. A total of 28 grant applications were received.
“Chad was the lead on all of that and did the followup — he personally talked with all of them. He took the time to walk them through the application, and if they had problems filling it out, he walked through it again. He made follow-up calls. Chad did do a tremendous job,” Mayor Billy McDaniel said.
Murray was assisted by city attorney Rick Abell and city accountant Linda Smith. The three and McDaniel spent a day going over each application and the accompanying receipts to see who qualified.
“The good thing about this was it truly helped the small businesses that missed a lot of money in those first rounds because they either didn’t have any employees or hadn’t been open very long,” McDaniel said. “It truly was a good thing. The one that got $3000 was truly a small, small business where the money was very much needed.”
Murray noted the “City of Metropolis has assisted or participated in multiple COVID assistance programs” and that several agencies assisted in the grant program. Assisting along the way include: State Rep. Patrick Windhorst and State Sen. Dale Fowler and their respective offices and staff for “much needed support and information, especially early on when so much of this was changing or being created on what seemed like a daily basis”; McDaniel and his support. “which levied the ability to participate in these programs”; DCEO director Erin Guthrie and everyone at DCEO who helped with the administration of these programs; Brad Cole and the Illinois Municipal League, “who fight for the use of these funds at the local level”; all City of Metropolis staff; Trish Steckenrider, director of the Greater Metropolis Convention & Visitors Bureau; the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce; and many others along the way.
“It hasn’t been easy understanding this pandemic emergency, even more has been the struggle of watching businesses and their employees face the uncertain burdens which COVID has placed upon them,” Murray said. “Being able to provide assistance to our local businesses throughout COVID has been time and effort well spent, I’m glad for the chance to work on it. I’m thankful DCEO provided the opportunity and the city wanted to be a part of it.”
McDaniel informed the council that Murray and Abel are “looking for anything we can apply for. Could be later, we may have another round (of grants),” he said.ww