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Downtown Attleboro businesses get state grants to help with coronavirus shutdown

May 14, 2020 : The Sun Chronicle, George W. Rhodes

ATTLEBORO — More than a dozen downtown businesses are getting some financial help from the state to mitigate hardship from the coronavirus lockdown, Mayor Paul Heroux announced this week.

MassDevelopment, the state’s quasi-public nonprofit economic development agency, provided $30,000 to Community Development of Attleboro Inc. to be split among selected businesses, depending on need.

“I am very pleased that this grant was made available by MassDevelopment and that we have our Economic Development Director Catherine Feerick to manage this program,” Heroux said in an emailed statement late Wednesday.

All told, 14 businesses will benefit from the grants, which in most cases run between $1,500 and $2,500, Feerick said.

Grant recipients are Bandidos Restaurant, Eastern Supply Co., A&C Barbershop, Flowers by the Station, Fulcrum Athletics, Sun Market, Ronin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Steve’s Barbershop, The Dance Factory, Park Street Pizza, Eli’s Pizza, Shaggy Chic, Derma Threading, and the Attleboro Arts Museum.

“A few received larger grants due to higher inventory (and or) utility expenses or recent significant investments they made into their businesses,” she said in an email Thursday.

Feerick said the money was funneled through Community Development of Attleboro, another quasi-public nonprofit agency, to expedite the distribution of the much-needed cash.

“As a nonprofit (CDA) can receive and disburse funds much more quickly and nimbly than the city government, and speed is essential for a lot of small businesses these days,” she said, referring to the nearly two-month shutdown of businesses deemed “nonessential.”

The money will help save those businesses as the state and city lay plans to reopen, Heroux said.

“These grants will help downtown businesses to weather losses incurred through the (coronavirus) pandemic and maintain operations when the economy reopens,” Heroux said. “Without this critical assistance, some of these businesses would certainly have closed down for good.”

On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker outlined a four-phase plan to restart the state’s economy beginning “around May 18,” depending on coronavirus conditions.

Meanwhile, Heroux announced a plan on Tuesday to reopen some city hall operations on May 26, if conditions permit.

Feerick said a committee was composed of TDI steering committee members which include downtown business and property owners and professionals, MassDevelopment representatives, and city officials. They determined allocation amounts based on need.

Heroux said businesses should monitor the city’s Facebook page for updated information on local, state, and federal programs for which they may qualify.