Oswego Village Hall NEW

With the COVID-19 pandemic shut-down extended, the village of Oswego is reaching out to small businesses to help them survive tough economic times by reserving $106,000 for their needs.  

At next Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting, village board trustees will discuss creating a series of grant and loan programs for small businesses that have been negatively impacted.

In a written statement, Oswego Village President Troy Parlier said small businesses are the heart and soul of Oswego, asking for residents to help these stores. He suggests ordering food for pickup or delivery and shopping on-line.  Many Oswego-based businesses are on social media for stay-at-home specials and hours.

The program proposal could include grants and loans for marketing, rent assistance, and expenses related to restarting businesses during and following the Covid-19 crisis.

Called the Downtown Marketing Grant, a total of $6,000 will be issued to the Oswego Downtown Association to remind shoppers and highlight businesses offering promotions.

The Rent Assistance Loan Program is aimed at maintaining the stability of Oswego’s commercial real estate market.  Businesses can apply for 50 percent payment of their monthly lease for two months with a maximum loan of $5,000, or for one month with a maximum $2,500 loan. The village is setting aside $50,000 for the program budget.

For the Restart Loan Program, businesses can receive up to $5,000 for closing or substantially reducing their operations when the state’s stay-at-home status is removed.  The low-interest loans can help business owners purchase inventory, pay early payroll costs and other expenses.  That village program cost is $50,000.

In addition, the village reminds small business owners of the federal CARES Act and state of Illinois programs previously announced.

Oswego Economic Development Director Corinna Cole said village staff made calls to a variety of Oswego business owners to determine what their biggest concerns are now. Then the program was designed to bridge gaps and get the Oswego business community to the other side of the crisis, she added.

The programs will be funded by repurposing the village’s existing economic development revolving loan fund. According to a media release, businesses will need to demonstrate their ability to repay loans and firm plans for reopening following the crisis.

Cole’s staff is monitoring new state and federal programs and working with Oswego businesses to help them identify and apply for larger loans and grants from those government levels.

Once authorized, additional information on the Rent Assistance and Restart Loan programs, including eligibility requirements will be available at www.oswegoil.org/economic-development.

To apply once funding becomes available after April 7, business owners should contact Economic Development Director Corinna Cole at ccole@oswegoil.org or 630-551-2334.

Business owners can contact the Economic Development Department by calling 630-551-2334 or emailing ccole@oswegoil.org.

Oswegrow.com, the site for Oswego small businesses and entrepreneurs, has a special COVID-19 page constantly updated with additional resources and ideas for businesses.

The village released the following information: 

“Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important to support our small businesses,” said Village President Troy Parlier. “Our small business community is the heart and soul of Oswego and we need to do what we can to help them weather these difficult times.”

The programs as proposed will include grants and loans for marketing, rent assistance, and expenses elated to restarting business during and following the crisis:

 The Downtown Marketing Grant, which has already been authorized, will award $3,000 to the Oswego Downtown Association to immediately begin marketing of all downtown businesses collectively to keep downtown Oswego in shoppers’ minds and highlight businesses offering promotions during the current shut-down. Another $3,000 will be awarded once stay at home orders are lifted to promote awareness of downtown businesses as a whole.

 The Rent Assistance Loan Program, designed to both help small businesses and maintain the stability of Oswego’s commercial real estate market, will award small loans to businesses shut down during the Stay at Home order to help them cover rent payments. Businesses can apply for up to 50% of their monthly lease for two months with a maximum loan of $5,000, or for one month with a maximum loan of $2,500. The total program budget would be $50,000.

 The Restart Loan Program will loan businesses up to $5,000 each to help businesses that had to close or substantially reduce their operations ramp up again. The low-interest loans can help fund purchasing inventory, early payroll costs, and other expenses businesses are likely to incur to get started again. The total program budget would be $50,000.

Oswego’s small business programs are designed to complement small business stimulus included in the federal CARES Act, signed into law Friday, and state programs that have already been announced.

“We’ve made calls to business owners of all kinds throughout Oswego over the past two weeks and listened to what their biggest anxieties are right now,” said Economic Development Director Corinna Cole. “These programs are a response to that, designed to help bridge gaps and get our business community to the other side of this crisis.”

The programs will be funded by re-purposing the Village’s existing economic development revolving loan fund. Each program has caps on available dollars, and businesses applying will need to demonstrate their ability to repay loans and firm plans for reopening following the crisis.

Once authorized, additional information on the Rent Assistance and Restart Loan programs, including eligibility requirements will be available at www.oswegoil.org/economic-development.

To apply once funding becomes available after April 7, business owners should contact Cole at ccole@oswegoil.org or 630-551-2334.

In addition to these Village-funded programs, Oswego’s economic development staff is monitoring state and federal programs as they become available and working with businesses to help them identify and apply for larger loans and grants available from the federal government and the State of Illinois.

“We have reached out to hundreds of businesses, but have not yet reached everyone,” Cole said. “I’d encourage any business in town that is suffering as a result of the COVID-19 crisis to contact us so we can better understand the needs of your business, match you to available resources, and offer technical assistance for your applications.” Business owners can contact the Economic Development Department by calling 630-551-2334 or emailing ccole@oswegoil.org.

In addition, Oswegrow.com, the site for Oswego small businesses and entrepreneurs, has a special COVID-19 page constantly updated with additional resources and ideas for businesses.

Finally, the Village of Oswego continues to call on residents to continue to support the small businesses in our community whenever possible.

“Oswego’s small business owners are our friends and neighbors,” Parlier said. “Shopping with them however you’re able, whether it’s takeout for dinner or placing an online order with one of our local retailers, is not just a lifeline for our small businesses, it’s one way we can come together as a community, even while we’re staying apart.”

Residents are encouraged to go online, call, or follow their favorite Oswego-based businesses on social media for changes to hours, Stay at Home specials and more.