Business Bites: Farmers’ Market delaying opening; Harlos Wax and Spa getting ready for move; Vintage Sellers closing; emergency grant application period opens May 7

A few Business Bites for you this week.

Got a Business Bite? Send it to jenn@theelectricgf.com.

Great Falls Farmers’ Market

The Great Falls Farmers’ Market organizers have decided to wait until phase three of the state’s reopening plan to make a decision about opening the market this summer.

According to a post, applications won’t be sent out until the organizers know what decisions will be made in phase 3.

Vintage Sellers

Vintage Sellers is going out of business and having a sale to liquidate inventory.

“It’s official, folks. Eight years of trying to find a buyer and not a one to be found. Didn’t want to see it close and didn’t want to lose contact with all of our awesome customers but the time has finally come,” according to a post by the business.

Harlos Wax and Sugar Spa

Harlos Wax and Sugar Spa has been located in the Columbus Center for 3.5 years and has been preparing its new space at 612 Central Ave. for the last few months.

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“It’s been a great place to grow my business but thanks to our amazing clientele we’ve now outgrown that small space,” owner Melissa Mathern posted on the spa’s page.

The new location is next to The Living Room with about 1,000 square feet, two service rooms and will have expanded service hours soon.

She’s started moving furniture into the new space and “I’m so excited to see my vision begin to come to life! I have a few more long weeks of working overtime to get this place up and running but thought I’d show you a sneak peek!”

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Harlos Wax and Sugar Spa photo

The opening date is to be announced, and until then, go to the original location for appointments.

Emergency grants

The application period for the $123 million of emergency grants announced by Gov. Steve Bullock this week opens 8 a.m. May 7. The application and other information is available here.

To prepare for the application, businesses and non-profits should have their tax ID, proof of business registration, a brief description of how the grant will be spent, and a brief description of how COVID-19 has impacted operations. Homeowners and renters should have bank account information available and verification of job or income loss.

The grands are funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The following new programs join the state’s suite of existing support services and direct federal appropriations:

  • The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for Montana-owned small businesses with 50 or fewer employees that have sustained a loss of revenue due to COVID 19. Current funding available is $50 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000.
  • The Montana Innovation Grant program is intended to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or services developed in response to COVID-19. Non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees with primary operations in Montana that have created an innovative product or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency can apply for grants of up to $25,000. Current funding available is $5 million.
  • Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program grants are available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Examples of eligible projects include those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste. Current funding available is $500,000, with a maximum grant award of $10,000.
  • Emergency Housing Assistance Program will provide rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19. Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continuable inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible. Total funding available is $50 million.
  • Public Health Grants are available to local and tribal health departments and urban tribal clinics to help in the response to COVID-19 and to meet the needs of their communities. Each organization is eligible to apply for funding. Current funding available is $5 million.
  • Stay Connected Grants ranging from $500-$2,000 per applicant are available to reduce social isolation among Montana’s seniors. Eligible applicants include area agencies on aging, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and tribal elder services. Grant funds can be used to fund technologies and other efforts to encourage physically distant forms of social interaction for elderly Montanans during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Current funding available is $400,000.
  • Food Bank and Food Pantry Assistance of up to $50,000 per applicant are available to increase food security for Montanans hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants include community organizations providing food assistance to Montanans with limited resources, food banks, food pantries, community cupboards, and entities with infrastructures already in place to begin new food distribution programs. Current funding available is $2 million.
  • Social Services Nonprofit Grants of up to $10,000 per applicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofits that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. Current funding available is $10 million.
  • Telework Assistance Grants of up to $1,000 per individual will go towards purchasing equipment to assist Montanans with disabilities access telework equipment. DPHHS will partner with a local non-profit organization to assess and support assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities during COVID-19. This assistance will help ensure people with disabilities have the equipment needed to adapt to the change in working environment due to COVID-19. Current funding available is $650,000.