Alpena is home to an amazing community of small businesses. Locally-owned restaurants. Small shops selling homewares, jewelry, gifts. Art galleries. Professional offices. Wineries, brewery. All of them contribute the diverse mix of businesses that make Alpena what it is.
Many of these small businesses have been hit especially hard by the worldwide pandemic and its effects. Restaurants, shops, salons, and offices have all been closed for the last two months, and have faced significant economic hardship as they have quickly had to adapt their services until stay-at-home orders are lifted. Many face an uncertain future as to not only when they can reopen, but if they will be able to open again.
A group of local citizens, led by Jennifer Calery and other representatives from Alpena non-profits, saw this reality and took action, launching a fundraising campaign, All in for Alpena, to provide Small Business Relief Grants to our area’s small businesses.
A social media marketing campaign kicked off May 5 to raise funds to support the grant program. Target Alpena, a 501(c)3 an area economic development non-profit, will serve as the fund fiduciary and disbursement agent. A committee made up of representatives from Alpena-based non-profits has been formed to manage the application and award process to give back to the businesses that have supported them throughout the years.
“Much like our nonprofit organizations are guided by our unwavering belief and commitment to our missions, small businesses in Alpena are unwavering in their support of our community,” said Jennifer Calery, All in for Alpena Program Director.
“Our organizations have joined forces to amplify our voices on behalf of our local businesses by seeking tax-deductible contributions made to a special fund established through the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan for the express purpose of supporting this small business relief program. All funds raised through this fund will go directly to Alpena small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.”
It is important now more than ever to show support for our community’s small businesses and continue to shop, eat, and support local. If you are you able to, we encourage you to make a donation to the All in for Alpena fund to help make sure our small businesses will get through this and can get back on their feet. The only way we can all get through this is together.
Those interested in making a donation to the small business relief fund can do so by donating through the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan at this link. Grant applications will be open to small businesses Monday, May 18 and accepted through Friday, May 22 at 5pm. To learn more, visit www.allinforalpena.com.
Anne Gentry is Executive Director of the Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and writes for Blog Downtown Alpena.