City of Mentor offers rent, mortgage reimbursement for small businesses

Posted at 10:43 AM, Jun 05, 2020

MENTOR, Ohio — Communities across Northeast Ohio are working to rebound from the economic shutdown.

In Mentor, small businesses are getting a helping hand from the city's economic development department.

"It's gonna take some time for us to recover from this. There's been a significant impact negatively on our economy," said Kevin Malecek, the director of the department.

The city established the Small Business Restart Program to assist small businesses which closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was given $200,000 in grant funds, from City of Mentor’s Community Development Block Grant Funds, to help business owners reopen.

"Anything they can get to help with expenses they've had has been a tremendous benefit to them," said Malecek said.

Each business can receive up to $500 to be used for rent or mortgage reimbursement.

According to the city's website, here are the requirements businesses must meet in order to receive the $500 grant:

  • Business must have less than 25 employees;
  • Must be a non-franchise, independently owned and operated;
  • Is doing business at a “bricks and mortar” facility in the city (home-based businesses not eligible);
  • Was closed and unable to conduct any business activity as a result of a required government order;
  • Was at no time in violation of that government order;
  • Is not in default or currently delinquent on any loan provided through the Mentor Economic Assistance Corporation;
  • Reopens for business; and remains open for no less a time period than the period which the payment requested for reimbursement was made.

So far, Maleckec said, more than 70 applications have been submitted.

Serena's Trophy World has been open in Mentor for the last 50 years. The shop's owner, Serena Akro, said being forced to close for two months was tough.

"This is our life. We just keep on going," said Arko.

Arko's business was awarded the rent reimbursement money and said it's going to help her family business stay afloat.

"There were some tough times and we were down for a little while as far as no sales. But were able to keep afloat and everything is great. But this money does really put a little bit of extra in the bank and we're grateful for it," she said.

The city of Mentor said applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Click here for more information.