ANNA - In response to the COVID-19-related challenges faced by area owned-and-operated businesses, the city’s Community Development Corporation (CDC) has established a program intended to help provide qualified companies some temporary financial relief.


Joey Grisham, executive director of the Anna Economic Development Corporation, calls the pandemic’s impact on local businesses and their owners “heartbreaking.”


Most small businesses are “ill-equipped to withstand that kind of devastation for very long,” he said. The Anna CDC’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program “seeks to mitigate some of these effects.”


The grant program will provide a one-time award of up to $5,000 to companies and businesses that meet certain criteria.


Those that may be eligible for the grant must have fewer than 20 employees and have a storefront presence within Anna’s city limits.


Companies must be in full compliance with local ordinances, remit sales tax to the city of Anna and may not be in arrears with city, county or state taxes and fees.


Grisham and Economic Development Manager Taylor Lough provide staff support to the Community Development Corporation Board of Directors, which is the source of the new program’s funding.


“We understand the critical nature of the loss of walk-in traffic to our city’s small businesses,” says Anthony Richardson, President of the CDC Board.


Applications for the grants, scheduled for disbursement in June, must be submitted by May 27.


Applicants must submit a copy of their company’s IRS W-9 form and a performance agreement with the Anna CDC, as well as statement explaining how the funds will be used.


Home-based businesses that are not eligible to take part in the program. Nor are nonprofits, franchisees of regional or national chains, grocers, unprepared food or produce vendors, alcohol or tobacco outlets, pawn shops, gas and convenience stores, health providers, financial lenders and certain service providers.


“Shops and stores that depend on their customer base coming in and making purchases have been negatively impacted” by the pandemic, Richardson said, “and our grant program is our way of helping them through this difficult time.”


Additional information about the program, as well resources for local businesses, are available on the Anna CDC’s website, opportunityannatx.com/covid-19/.