Over $750K given out in second round of local business relief

Published 11:12 am Friday, February 26, 2021

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Local officials distributed $761,500 in COVID-19 relief funding this week, according to Freeborn County Administrator Tom Jensen.

More than $599,000 of the pot came from the County Relief Grant program, which was authorized by the 2020 Minnesota Legislature. Almost $115 million was set aside for counties to distribute; allocations were made on a prorated basis from the state.

The remainder was a joint funding effort of the county and the city of Albert Lea.

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“We’re hopeful this will help businesses that are struggling, and we’re hopeful that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Jensen said.

Two groups were identified by a committee made up of representatives from the city, county and Albert Lea Economic Development Agency:

  • Businesses in targeted industries that didn’t receive state COVID funds in 2020.
  • Businesses that showed losses greater than 20% for the third quarter of 2020, compared to the third quarter of 2019.

The first group received grants of $15,000 — the same amount the businesses would have received under the state program. Twenty local businesses received grants.

Jensen said four businesses applied for $15,000 but were denied because they had already received state support in the same amount.

The amounts for the second group were determined by verifying losses on financial statements and calculating employment data. Businesses received $3,000 for each full-time employee.

The amounts ranged from $3,000 to $33,000 and served 64 local businesses.

Jensen said 30 businesses applied for local funding, but their financial statements did not meet the 20% threshold. He noted that 17 of those 30 businesses did receive support in the first round of relief.

Committee members — Rich Murray (1st Ward councilor for Albert Lea and ALEDA board member), John Forman (District 3 Freeborn County commissioner), and Mark Heinemann (ALEDA board member) — used the same process and thresholds utilized in the summer disbursements.

The committee also forwarded $50,000 to Freeborn County United Way.

If there is additional funding made available by Congress or the state, Jensen said another application process would have to be used to distribute the funds.

The following businesses were in industries targeted by the state Revenue and Economic Development departments — restaurants, bars, food trucks and gyms — but likely did not receive assistance in the first disbursement. The county assistance program aimed to assist those companies with the same level of funding had they been identified through the state program. Each received $15,000: Nasty Habit Bar & Grill; Diana’s Diner; Noris Cuisine, LLC; Dairy Queen QDAL; Anytime Fitness/Bromeland Fitness LLC; Plaza Morena; B&B Café; Crossfit Innerdrive; Bend in the Road; Smokin’ Bros BBQ; Good Face Indian Taco; Conger Inn Victory Catering; Albert Lea Pizza Ranch; Albert Lea Family Y; Peppered Cow; The Thirsty Fox; Barn of Chapeau Shores; Three Oaks Wines; Smokin’ Barrel BBQ; and Freeborn County Historical Museum.

The following businesses provided financial statements documenting loss of 20% or more in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the third quarter of 2018.

$33,000: Green Mill Albert Lea – ALGM, LLC.

$22,500: Rink Systems; Holiday Inn Express.

$19,000: Albert Lea Tribune.

$17,000: Comfort Inn DC Hotels.

$15,000: Americ Inn.

$13,500: Best Western Plus; George’s of Geneva.

$12,000: Four Seasons Vacations; I-90 Reprocessing.

$11,000: Calico Hutch; A-Best Sew & Vac.

$8,000: Power 96/KQPR; Four Seasons Coffee.

$6,000: Kim Nails; Clothing Care Center; Hemmingsen’s Transfer; Grandmas Gourmets.

$5,000: Leutholds; Harold’s Bar & Grill; Hunters on Main, LLC.

$4,500: Dawson Limousine; The Hair Place; Cassandra Benson – Hair Stylist; Hemingway Photography; Litho Printing and Graphics; Tic & Toc Digital Printing Plus; Small World Daycare; Country Care Boarding Kennel; Shell Rock Repair; Motel 65; 

Amy’s Cleaning; Bruno’s Corn Dogs; Yankee Catering.

$4,000: Albert Lea Gymnastics Club; Nail Tech; Aragon Bar.

$3,000: Heartwaves Creative Well Being Center; Lowell Lu Productions; Harmony Park; The Meraki Studios; Larson Services, LLC; Alden Advance; KC Pottery; Chris Larson Construction; Albert Lea Radiator & Cooling Systems LLC; Land’s End Art Design/Flowers by Jane; 

L&I Construction LLC; Schoff Chiropractic; Hilltop Signs; Grass Lake Engraving; DMB Investment Properties; Elisa’s Family Daycare; It’s Worth It Massage; Red Carpet Carwash; 

Ellen and Jane Boutique; Arrow Printing; 

Daisy Blue Naturals; The Outlet, LLC; Albert Lea Airport; Hubbard Agency; Back Acres Construction; Grandma’s Kitchen; Bubba’s Bar & Grill; The Best Little Hair House.