Summers County commission, NRGRDA aim to help small businesses struggling from pandemic

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HINTON, WV (WVNS) — Businesses are back open, but the impacts of the shutdown linger. In Hinton, Summers County commissioners and the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority are throwing a lifeline to these local entrepreneurs.

Downtown Hinton is home to many local mom and pop shops and small businesses. But many now struggle to recover after being closed for months due to COVID-19.

Heather Adkins is a clerk at her mother’s antique store, Grandma’s house.

“We contemplated having to close our store that’s how bad it got,” said Adkins.

They are back open, but had to reduce their hours to a couple days a week. Summers County Commission President, Jack Woodrum, said losing small businesses to COVID-19 would be a huge blow to the county’s economy.

“Now we’re in a situation where we may lose 20% of our small businesses due to the shutdown,” said Woodrum. “So we’re doing what we can to help those people continue to work.”

The commission, the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, and the Hive held a seminar Friday, June 5, 2020 to help Hinton Area businesses. The seminar offered business advice, guidance, resources and information about how to access an NRGRDA loan fund. Executive director, Joe Brouse, said the target amount is $25,000 per borrower at a 3% interest rate.

“What our organization has done is found a pot of money, put a program with it that’s easy and flexible to access,” Brouse said. “That’s going to probably not only going to help these businesses, but hopefully its going to relieve a lot of their stress.”

For Adkins, getting the loan would help them be able to pay employees, get new inventory and hopefully get ahead.

“Any help that we can get would be great,” said Adkins. “I know the commission is helping us and… anything that we could get would be wonderful.”

Small business owners who could not attend the town hall can contact the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority to learn about the loan and other resources at 304-254-8115 or info@nrgrda.org

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