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Small businesses in Hartford cheer relief funds

"I'm crying with joy and gratitude for you helping us," said Jody Morneault,

HARTFORD, Conn — Thousands of small businesses in Connecticut are receiving financial help through two state grant programs and PPP loans.

On Tuesday, Governor Lamont, Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner David Lehman, and the executive director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, Scott Dolch, were joined by local business owners to discuss how that money has helped them.

Some business owners received checks from the CT Business Recovery Grant this week.

"I'm crying with joy and gratitude for you helping us," said Jody Morneault, co-owner of Stackpole Moore Tryon in Hartford. She is among the 2,000 businesses that received the grant.

Her clothing store has been in Hartford for over 100 years. She says the money they received will help keep them afloat.

"Having to endure the pain of trying to keep your business open for 10 months, that's going to be a huge help because it'll help me to pay off some debt that I have, it will help me to keep some invoices current, and right now as we go into January and February when it's more quiet, the timing couldn't be better," she said.

Business owners like her used one word to describe what they've had to do to keep going through the pandemic.

Small business pandemic assistance

"The big word of 2020 was pivot," said Daniel Meiser, chairman of the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

It's something restaurants know well. Due to a changing limit on capacity, and changing rules, the industry has constantly had to adapt. Executive director Scott Dolch says when it comes time to get back to normal, the key will be making sure customers are comfortable.

I think the biggest piece is, 'how do we build back consumer confidence?' he said.

Morneault says it's important for people to know how badly businesses are hurting. She is suggesting the state launch a campaign encouraging people to support small businesses.

"Shop local, eat local, the local restaurants and retailers are part of your community. They are the ones who always donated to non-profits, donated to your baseball teams, they did everything to help you, now we need help," she said.

There is some more help headed for small businesses. This week, they are expected to find out if they have been approved for a grant through the CT CARES Small Business Grant Program.

"We're trying to keep people employed, we're trying to power through the next two to three months in terms of PPP in terms of the shared work grants in terms of rent relief, everything we do to see if we can get to that warmer day more people are getting vaccinated, more people eating outdoors, more people outdoors able to go to stores," said Governor Ned Lamont.

Right now, community financial institutions can apply for first draw PPP loans and will be able to apply for second draw loans starting Wednesday, January 13th. Additional lenders will be able to apply shortly after.

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