The town of Mancos has now awarded nearly $75,000 to local businesses in federal coronavirus relief funding during two grant cycles.
The second round of grants, which were distributed by the end of 2020, awarded about $27,800 to local businesses and $15,500 to the Mancos School District. The first round of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act awarded about $47,144 to Mancos businesses last year.
Business grantees have used the funds to help cover the costs of business interruption caused by COVID-19 and remain open through December. Funds could also help businesses maintain public health standards by purchasing personal protective equipment, technology, outdoor heaters and signage.
Mancos School District intends to use its funding to cover the expenses of distance learning brought about by the pandemic.
Rachel Marchbanks, Mancos economic development coordinator, said the funding was crucial, but more might be needed soon.
“Local small businesses are essential for our region’s overall economic health and vitality,” Marchbanks said. “We are grateful to Mancos businesses for persevering during this challenging time and are committed to doing what we can to support them. This funding has helped businesses continue to operate, but we are hopeful that more relief will come because we are not out of the danger zone yet.”
Mancos partnered with Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado to help set up the grant application process and organize the requests. To be eligible, the business or nonprofit must be located within the town of Mancos and be operating or working to reopen and be in good standing with the state of Colorado. Businesses also required a current town of Mancos business license.
Of the 13 organizations that applied in the second round, 12 were funded.
Kate Wall, the owner of Zuma Natural Foods in Mancos used the money she received to buy artisan chairs from a local craftsman that are suitable for outdoor seating.
“It just made more sense to spend money inside the community instead of outside of it,” Wall said.
Because of the pandemic, the cafe portion of Zuma Natural Foods store saw a significant dip in business. Wall and her staff adapted to the pandemic by emphasizing the grocery side of the business to be successful and maintain employees’ hours.
Nonetheless, Wall is looking forward to offering outdoor seating.
“A huge part of what our cafe offers is a space for community, so we’re really looking forward to getting that back,” Wall said.