ITHACA, NY –– To help businesses struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Ithaca launched a “anchor” storefront recovery loan fund –– providing low-cost economic development loans. cost between $ 8,000 and $ 50,000 to major business enterprises in the city showcase.
“The underlying idea was that businesses that have a certain presence in the community are very important to the success of their shopping district, but also to the image of the community. If we have a lot of storefronts that become vacant –– especially very visible central storefronts –– then that’s bad because the image of the community and our economic success wouldn’t be where we wanted it to be, ”said Thomas Knipe, the deputy director of economic development for the city of Ithaca.
To be considered an “anchor” business, you must provide a unique service that would be difficult to replace if the business were to close permanently, have a significant area (1,200 square feet or more) and a highly visible “anchor” location ( a prominent corner or storefront in an establishment with other smaller tenants, etc.), be a generator of traffic (ie.
Anchor businesses include both restaurants and retail businesses.
The Ithaca Anchor Storefront Recovery Loan Fund provides targeted loan assistance with one year of interest-only payments, which then turns into a 5-year loan with 60 equal monthly payments and a 12-month drawdown period. The loans also come with an extremely low interest rate of 1.25% to ensure that businesses in need can confidently participate in the program.
“These are terms that a business would be unlikely to get from the bank or any other source of funding,” Knipe said.
The initiative to create this fund was facilitated by the City of Ithaca Economic Development Office in collaboration with local economic development agencies, including the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, the Tompkins Chamber and the Small Business Development Center. Money for the fund comes from individuals connected through the Tompkins County Community Foundation.
“We have done a lot of work to try to support local businesses through COVID, and we have led the initiative to develop the small business resilience fund in April / May and it was kind of designed as emergency funding and forgivable loans, ”Knipe said. “But we knew we wanted to try and do more with local funding to support the recovery. Basically we got the idea for the loan fund and then we shared it with some local foundations. It is thanks to these references that individuals have decided to support the fund.
There is approximately $ 360,000 in the fund to distribute so far. The minimum loan request is $ 8,000 and a maximum of $ 25,000 for businesses with gross annual revenues of up to $ 1.5 million, or up to $ 50,000 for businesses with gross annual revenues do not exceed $ 3 million.
Loans are distributed through Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS). A volunteer loan review committee made up of business owners, finance / loan experts, and economic development experts will make loan recommendations to the INHS.
Interested companies can visit the INHS website to download the full program and application guidelines and access information on how to apply here. Eligible companies are invited to apply by September 2 to be considered in a first round of application reviews.