Reynoldsburg businesses grateful for CARES Act funds

Kelley Youman
ThisWeek
Bob Martin, Ohio Select vice president, is shown Nov. 2 at his store, 7394 E. Main St. Martin said business dropped by about 69% when schools were shuttered in March. Ohio Select received $10,000 from the Reynoldsburg COVID-19 Business Relief Grant Program, a program established from the money the city received in the CARES act funds.

More than $125,000 in financial lifelines have been awarded to Reynoldsburg-based small businesses. 

City Council established the Reynoldsburg COVID-19 Business Relief Grant Program in August, setting aside $300,000 for the program from what it received in federal CARES Act funds.  

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed into law March 27. 

Business owners could apply for up to $10,000 in eligible expenses incurred between March 1 and Aug. 31, 2020. Examples of eligible expenses include rent/mortgage payments, utilities, salaries and wage and personal protective equipment (PPE) or costs related to compliance with the Responsible Restart Ohio plan, according to the program application. 

To qualify, a business must have been in operation at least 12 months and have had positive revenue before the pandemic. It must be a Reynoldsburg-based, for-profit operation with fewer than 50 employees and must demonstrate a decrease in gross revenue due to COVID-19 with supporting financial records or bank statements. 

Bob Martin, vice president of Ohio Select, an apparel and uniform company at 7394 E. Main Street, said his business dropped by about 69% when schools were shuttered in March. 

“Trying to run a business on 30% of the previous year is tough. I do a lot of walk-in retail during football season, and that’s totally gone,” he said. 

The $10,000 grant “definitely helped us keep the doors open,” Martin said. “It was the biggest sigh of relief. Even though our landlord was willing to work with us, we didn’t want to leave anyone hanging. We were living order to order, and now we can breathe a little bit.”  

With large gatherings curbed, the usually busy spring and summer seasons came with no proms and far fewer weddings, said Joan Madison, owner of Joan’s Bridal Couture, 7374 E. Main Street.  

She received a $10,000 grant from the city to help pay rent and utilities.  

“Tuxedo rentals really took a hit – men’s formalwear business was down 95% because we totally lost our prom business. Then we really got hit hard because March through May is our peak bridal season and that’s pretty much when everything was shut down. A lot of brides just canceled, some pushed (orders) out until next year,” Madison said.  

“That grant helped keep us afloat. It buys you a little more hope,” she said. “There’s no way we would have been able to keep our doors open.” 

In a typical year, orders for custom gowns, which can take up to six months, are at capacity by December, Madison said.  

In business 14 years, Madison said she is operating by appointment-only until demand picks up, something she is hoping occurs after the holiday season when many people get engaged. 

“The weddings are different, it’s not the big, 200-guest weddings anymore. A lot of them are smaller and intimate so a lot of the brides that got married this year didn’t want the big gowns. They wanted something less elaborate,” Madison said. “We are getting some appointments, but no one really committing to things at this point. It’s just kind of a look-see. We’re hoping that those will turn into concrete orders, but right now it’s hard to tell.”   

The city has awarded $125,725.71 in small-business grants to date. Other businesses include:  

• Andrea’s Precise Cleaning, P.O. Box 286, Reynoldsburg: $2,140.36 

• Barberzone Barber Studio, 7429 E. Main Street: $2,500 

• Beany’s Auto Service Center, 1673 Brice Road: $6,667.56  

• Blacklick Creek Dental, 7395 E. Main Street: $10,000 

• Dipisha, LLC, 1324 Aida Drive: $7,447.97 

• Eerie Escape, 7458 E. Main Street: $10,000  

• Everest Threading & Beauty, 1929 Baltimore-Reynoldsburg Road: $7,800 

• Jacob Christian Salon, 1355 Brice Road: $3,801.71 

• Jade’s Restaurants, 8071 Broad Street and 1304 Aida Drive: $10,000 

• Max’s Barbershop, 7379 E. Main Street: $10,000 

• Ruvane Kurland/The Original Coin Guitar Picks, 1088 Taylor Mills Drive: $3,741.43 

• Starstrukt Apparel, 7384 E. Main Street: $8,280.70 

• Sojourn Living, 6555 E. Livingston Ave.: $10,000 

• Stamas Dental Group, 8305 Taylor Road, Suite 400: $10,000 

• Tiffany Stacey Photography and Video, 570 Allis Place West: $3,345.98   

Mayor Joe Begeny called the city’s small businesses the “backbone of our economic community.”  

He and Stephen Cicak, city auditor, have hand-delivered the checks, posting photos on the city’s Facebook page. 

“The ability of the city of Reynoldsburg to provide this grant opportunity to our local businesses in their time of need has been overwhelming,” Begeny said. “These businesses are what makes Reynoldsburg special and every one that we have talked to are grateful for the grant funds. If we can help keep these businesses open, the benefit to our community receives goes beyond a dollar amount and that's what makes Reynoldsburg the city of respect. 

In business since 1971, Ohio Select has weathered its share of change.  

Martin has run the company since 1990 alongside his mother, Jean Martin, who still keeps the books. He said business is “coming back a little bit.” 

“Varsity jackets are a big thing this time of year, and we have a reputation for our varsity jackets,” Martin said. “We make sure they’re showpieces when they leave here, and we’re starting to see people ordering them for Christmas.” 

“I can’t say how grateful I am to the city of Reynoldsburg – they definitely set the bar, as far as how other communities should be working to help out their small businesses.” 

Reynoldsburg has received a total of $3,060,808 in CARES Act funds.  

In addition to the small business program, the city awarded a $200,000 grant to Reynoldsburg City Schools for software, internet access and server capacity related to online learning, and a $23,000 grant to the Mid-Ohio Market and HEART food pantry, 6475 E. Main Street, Suite 101, for rent and utility costs.  

The city has also spent $80,000 in CARES Act funds to purchase 20 portable air-purification systems.  

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