Harrison CIC Creates Downtown Business COVID-19 Loan Program
Shannon David Hamons, CEcD
City of Harrison
The Harrison, Ohio Community Improvement Corporation recently established a Downtown Loan Program for businesses affected by loss of sales due to the Ohio COVID-19 rules. Applications were provided to 27 Downtown businesses, and eight of the businesses chose to apply for the $5,000, 1% simple interest loans.
Funds for the program were provided to the eight businesses thanks to the CIC’s sale of a Downtown building last year. The term of the loans is four years, with the repayment start delayed for one year. The types of businesses that applied for the loans included restaurants, a home decor retailer, a women’s clothing store, a salon, an antique shop, a sports apparel store, and a flower shop. A requirement for application was a sales loss of at least 35% due to COVI-19 retail rules. Some of the stores experienced a 100% loss of sales, while the combined average of sales loss was 71%.
Harrison Mayor Bill Neyer commented about the importance of the loan program.
“It was very perceptive of our local CIC members to recognize that some of our home-grown businesses were facing tremendous stress,” Neyer said. “While the loans are relatively small, for these community members the funds could mean the difference between staying in business or closing. Our Downtown has realized a great resurgence in recent years, and it was important to keep that momentum going.”
CIC Board member Tim Kern said, “While many Harrison businesses were greatly challenged during this time, we felt it was especially important to reach out to the Downtown businesses. ‘The District’ as it is called, serves as Harrison’s ‘living room’, where most of our community’s special events are conducted. We believe as our Downtown District goes, so goes our City.” Kern is Senior V.P. of JTM Food Group, Harrison’s largest employer with 550+ associates.
The Harrison CIC was created near the end of 2018 to promote business development in the Hamilton County community 20 miles northwest of Cincinnati. Before the loan program, the CIC had entered into an agreement with Harrison Building & Loan to utilize the company’s Downtown parking lot for customers of the area’s other businesses. The Harrison City Council had also recently approved an Entertainment District in its Downtown, leading to the renovation of no less than four buildings for restaurants and pubs.
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