Arlington has handed out nearly $350,000 in business grants and $3,600 in utility payment relief
In support of the local businesses that are critical for the local economy and local culture, last week the city of Arlington distributed $97,300 to 33 Arlington businesses, bringing the total amount of Arlington business rent/COVID-19 relief grants to $349,363. In addition, the city granted utility payment relief to Arlington businesses that applied, totaling $5,600. Funding provided by the CARES Act.
Businesses can stay informed of these opportunities by following the city of Arlington e-newsletter and social media, and following Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce news; updates and opportunities are also posted on city of Arlington and the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Washington State Department of Commerce webpages.
Arlington mayor and staff have been working in conjunction with the Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Arlington Business Association, Main Street Committee, and the Economic Recovery Committee to implement ways to support businesses since the Washington State mandates took effect. The city encourages businesses to take part in these meetings. Stilly Valley Chamber of Commerce Director Mandy Kruger said, “We are grateful for the city’s full partnership and collaboration to ensure we have a menu of items to support our businesses during this challenging time. All our business are important to the culture of our community.” For information on meetings, contact Sarah Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-403-3448.
As conditions have changed during this last year, the city has responded by consulting directly with business leaders. The Mayor’s Economic Recovery committee, consisting of business owners, set out a purchasing guide for protective equipment and supplies early on. The Chamber recently distributed a number of PPE kits from Snohomish County.
A recent initiative to support retail, was the creation of an online marketplace exclusively featuring Arlington businesses. The Chamber received CARES funding from the city to create the online marketplace, Shop Local Arlington www.shoplocalarlington.com, that businesses can join for free. Businesses, including retail, restaurants and services, can sell products and gift cards on the marketplace. The chamber is promoting shopping local and at the marketplace by producing a series of video advertisements featuring local small businesses, and working with a social media influencer to create Arlington gift guides and expand marketing. Businesses can register to join the marketplace by going to www.shoplocalarlington.com, or contacting Chamber Executive Director, Mandy Kruger, at email@example.com. The shop local campaign will carry on through next year.
To support the restaurants and dining, the city deployed additional outdoor dining areas to the downtown, including an outdoor eatery www.arlingtonoutdooreatery.com at Legion Park with ordering options, and tables in plaza areas on main street. The city also created comprehensive restaurant rack cards and 10-minute parking signage for take-out. The Arlington City Council passed an ordinance to allow for outdoor eating in parking stalls. Restaurants can apply to create additional outdoor areas by contacting the city. Restaurants can also sell gift cards or link to their own online ordering platforms through www.shoplocalarlington.com.
The city supports and hosts downtown events to draw people downtown for commerce and provide community. This year, volunteers and staff spent time imagining ways to create Hometown Holidays in a meaningful way that still attracted people to town. The Chamber of Commerce extended the Farmers Market into December as another attraction for downtown commerce.
Arlington has enlisted additional help with the economic recovery. WSU Extension has been assisting implementation of these initiatives and studying innovative ways to mobilize during this business crisis. There are also business experts ready to help, including WA Small Business Development Center, SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), and NW Innovation Resource Center. These are free services available to businesses. SCORE business mentors are ready to discuss any questions or ideas. Business owners are encouraged to reach out with any concern. Contact information is available at www.arlingtonwa.gov/COVIDbusiness.
Now is the time to hear your suggestions for business sustainability in Arlington. This crisis is an opportunity to collaborate with other businesses and create a sustainable future for small business. “The most important thing right now is that we hear your ideas and how we can partner with you,” said Mayor Barb Tolbert. Please email the Mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 360-403-3441, to set up an appointment to meet with the Mayor and staff.