More businesses in Rock Island will see some relief. Money is available through city grants funded by the federal government and the Development Association of Rock Island.
Sports Depot is one of 48 businesses that got a grant. They’ve been in business for 37 years.
Kevin Hird, owner of Sports Depot says that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about one of the most difficult times for the shop, who rely heavily on youth sports, who aren’t taking the field this spring.
“It’s definitely been different for us,” Hird said. “Normally we’re working 10-12 hour days, it’s baseball/softball season for us. And 40 percent of our business gets done in a ten week period which we’re right in the middle of. “
Hird says that the money will help him cover some massive shortfalls.
“We applied for and did receive some federal money through the PPP program, which helps us pay our employees anyway for the period, but it doesn’t help take care of some of those other bills,” Hird said. “Paying some of our vendors for inventory that we brought in, in anticipation of that busy season.”
Stacey McIntosh, program manager for DARI says the grants are going out now, and how much the businesses get is based on their individual needs.
“Between the public and private partnership that we have with the city of Rock Island, and being able to provide this grant, it really shows the small businesses in the community that we’re there for them,” McIntosh said. “We wanna help and give them a little bit of hope during this time.”
Almost $100,000 has been granted so far, but Rock Island mayor Mike Thoms says more grant help for businesses is on the way, so keep applying.
“We still have more to review, we’re giving out 48 now,” Thoms said. “There’s a good number–about 60 or so in the pipeline, that we’re processing and sorting through the qualifications and dollar amount.”
The federal money is part of the Community Development Block Grant awarded to Rock Island.