Fae Bruns

Small businesses in San Luis Obispo have received a second round of COVID-19 relief grants from the City of San Luis Obispo and the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.

According to the City of San Luis Obispo website, the SLO City Small Business Relief Fund was first created in August with $260,000 from the federal CARES Act funding and private donations. In the first round of funding, 52 businesses were given $5,000 grants. 

For the second round of relief grants, more than 525 businesses applied — a record number of applications, according to a press release. After a review board evaluated the applications, 100 small businesses received $5,000 grants. An additional 81 small businesses received $1,000 grants after the city worked in partnership with the Community Foundation, a private donor and the chamber to gain additional funding.  

The review committee considered how businesses would use the funds, their positive impact on the community and any partial or total closure costs the business has endured over the course of the pandemic.  

The SLO City Small Business Relief Fund has now delivered $841,000 in direct funding to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release. 

Co-founder of SLO Motion Films Hayley Nenadal received a $1,000 grant. Her business, which hosts high-quality film screenings and talks with filmmakers, downsized during the pandemic and limited their socially distant events to 100 people or less. Before the pandemic, their events would fill the capacity at the Fremont Theatre. 

Nenadal said the grant relief will provide her business support by allowing them to host screenings in a centralized downtown location.  

“It will help us put on better, more creative events for the community in 2021,” Nenadal said.  

The Queen’s Court, a beauty studio offering nail services and spray tanning, also received a small business relief grant. Owner Ashley Kantner said surviving the pandemic has been a struggle in an industry severely affected by closures. The $1,000 grant will allow her to catch up on rent expenses, insurance payments and utility fees. Kantner said her business was denied grant funding twice before finally being chosen for relief. 

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Kantner said. “The Chamber of Commerce does great things for this community.” 

The grants from the SLO City Small Business Relief Fund were allocated from the recently passed Local Revenue Measure (G-20).  

According to a press release, additional rounds of funding have not been scheduled, but the Chamber of Commerce continues to seek donations for small business relief.

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