• Skagit County awards first round of COVID-19 relief grants to local small businesses

    July 10, 2020
    Today, the Skagit County Commissioners awarded 30 Skagit County businesses a total of $163,884, with awards of up to $9,000 dollars each. They also announced an open round of the Skagit County Small Business Grant program, designed to help local businesses keep their doors open, retain jobs, and comply with COVID-19 prevention public health and safety measures.

    With small businesses serving as the backbone of Skagit County’s local economy, the Commissioners were thrilled to approve the first round of much-needed grant funding.

    “Small businesses have been hit particularly hard by the economic crisis caused by COVID-19," said Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki. “We all have experience with family-owned businesses and know that these types of grants can go a long way to keeping businesses open and people working.”

    Commissioner Ron Wesen commented, “The small business owners who have received awards here today are great examples of Skagit ingenuity and leadership. It’s great to be able to give them some help during this difficult time.” 

    Skagit County plans to award up to $1 million total through the grant program’s two rounds, funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, better known as the CARES Act. The program is administered by the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC).

    “Businesses are not just about buying and selling goods- it’s about keeping people working and able to feed their families,” said Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt. “I’m grateful that the CARES Act funding has helped us provide this opportunity to small businesses in Skagit.”

    The funding awarded today went to businesses that had previously been recommended by an EDASC local panel to receive funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant, but did not receive any funding or received less than the recommended amount due to funding limitations. The funding awarded today made up the difference between what Commerce funded and what EDASC’s local panel recommended.

    Deanne Wientge, who received a grant for her beekeeping business Njordic Mountain Apiary, said her business will benefit greatly from the additional funding.

    “The loss of funds from reduced sales, show cancellations and decreased tourism has very much impacted our business, and we still have beehives to manage,” she said. “The grant will certainly help, and the timing couldn’t be better.”

    The application for the second round of grant funding is set to open Monday, July 13.

    Small businesses with up to 25 employees or FTE are encouraged to apply, as well as nonprofits focusing on basic needs.  $750,000 in funding is available, and the maximum award amount is $25,000.

    “EDASC has been administering COVID-19 small-business relief grants on behalf of the state and Skagit County cities and towns since the beginning of this public health and economic crisis,” said EDASC CEO John Sternlicht. “We are pleased to work with the county to get these federal dollars into the hands of small businesses.”

    To learn more and apply, visit EDASC’s website at skagit.org or email scgrant@skagit.org