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Downtown Fitchburg businesses receive grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

June 8, 2020 : Sentinel & Enterprise


FITCHBURG — Downtown Fitchburg businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic have received more than $62,000 in emergency grants through MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI), in partnership with ReImagine North of Main, according to a press release from the downtown revitalization group.

“It was nice to see the organized groups involved with Fitchburg do something to help support the businesses that have made investments in the city,” Steven Duvarney, owner of Duvarney Jewelers on Main Street, said. “For a retailer that was deemed nonessential during COVID, Fitchburg has made us feel essential.”

The grants were designed to provide flexible, emergency funding to help small businesses in the Fitchburg TDI District navigate these unprecedented times. The funds were targeted to support restaurants and businesses deemed “nonessential” by Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive order.

Administered by ReImagine North of Main with the support of the Fitchburg TDI Partnership, applications from 25 businesses were received and approved, according to the release.

Funding was made possible through MassDevelopment’s TDI Local Emergency Funding and the ReImagine North of Main, which is supported by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts Synergy Initiative.

“As a small business owner, the last few months have been filled with uncertainty and fear,” Kim Jones, owner of Strong Style Coffee on Boulder Drive, said. “Knowing that organizations like North of Main and other community organizations in Fitchburg are there in the worst of times to support us is why I choose to do business in Fitchburg. The financial support given to us has helped us reopen and rehire staff. This gesture shows that they see beyond just numbers and care about the businesses and community that make our city a special place.”

ReImagine North of Main is a collective impact initiative led by Fitchburg State University, the City of Fitchburg, Fitchburg Art Museum, The Minority Coalition, Making Opportunity Count and NewVue Communities. Fitchburg State University is the fiscal agent and project manager for the ReImagine North of Main initiative.