Clallam County Commissioners are exploring ways to help local businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner Randy Johnson says he thinks the county needs to step in to help local businesses where it can. He says many “Mom and Pop” businesses are on the verge of collapse and may not be allowed to open for months under the governor’s plans.
Many local businesses are not getting relief from state or federal sources. The state Department of Commerce offered $90,000 total to grant Clallam County businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce president Christopher Thomsen served on the screening committee for those grants in Clallam County. He says more than 900 businesses applied, 101 made the final cut. Those asked for more than ten times the amount that was allocated. He says applications came in from all types of small businesses in Clallam County.
Commissioners are considering a loan program run through local nonprofit community lender Craft3 that would leverage every dollar put in by the county five-fold. The individual loan sizes up to $50,000 with four-year terms at five percent fixed interest rates. The terms feature deferments and some interest only periods to drive down the monthly payments.
The county could put $125,000 as a grant perhaps from the Opportunity Fund. Craft3 would put $375,000 in leverage money, creating about $500,000 for loans locally.