‘We’ve had some bad luck’: Conway business owners apply for new city economic relief program

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The City of Conway has implemented one new economic program that’s already gotten a handful of applications from business owners needing assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

After seeing back-to-back hardships between Hurricane Florence, flooding and now the COVID-19 pandemic, some business owners News13 spoke to say it’s time the City of Conway lend some financial help.

“We’ve had some bad luck down here,” said Karen Young, owner of Thistle & Clover Women’s Western Boutique along Main Street.

Young says she applied to the new program soon after it was released.

“We’ve been able to keep our business community afloat through those natural disasters and now we have one more on top of that,” said City Administrator Adam Emrick.

A business could get up to $10,000 in financial relief according to Emrick.

Business owners can be reimbursed for up to three months rent or mortgage payments for up to $5,000 or be reimbursed for anything that’s been purchased to help the business be sustainable during the pandemic like personal protective equipment, or PPE.

The Community Development Block Grant entitlement funding comes from leftover money in a recently-ended partnership between Conway, Horry County and Myrtle Beach that derived from federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For Young, although she did receive the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or EIDL, she still had to take money out of her pockets to keep her boutique afloat.

“We’re hoping that the money this grant provides to us will help us recoup some of the money that we’ve had to pull out of pocket just to stay in business,” said Young.

Business owners can apply for the funding here.

Some business owners asked News13 why two years of income tax records were required to apply for the program, because they say it wasn’t required for the federal assistance program applications.

The City of Conway sent us this statement:

Yes, businesses do have to provide, as part of their application process, two years of financial statements in the form of income tax statements. CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funding has qualifying factors and those qualifications can be found here: http://cityofconway.com/business/2020_small_business_relief_program/index.php.

The principle behind and CDBG grant funding is to expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income person(s). Part of the eligibility requirements is that the owner/applicant is qualified as low/moderate income (for business with no more than 5 employees) OR business commits to retaining FTE jobs by a member of low/moderate income household. The tax return will determine the eligibility for businesses to qualify.”

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