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Commissioners, chambers to aid small businesses

Commissioners, chambers to aid small businesses

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Linn County will partner with the Albany and Lebanon chambers of commerce to help local small businesses access federal financial assistance due to economic issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roger Nyquist, John Lindsey and Will Tucker agreed this week to allocate $15,000 per month from August through December to each operation. The funds will come from federal reimbursements associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to help small businesses keep their heads above water,” Board Chair Nyquist said. “There is a new economic relief package before Congress that will provide benefits to small businesses.”

Nyquist said the problem is that many small businesses don’t know how to access that help.

“This has gone on longer than any small business owners would have imagined when the governor closed the state’s economy down in March,” Nyquist said. “The fact there are so many small businesses still around is amazing in itself, but it will be nearly impossible for many of them to get through the next two or three months without some help.”

Nyquist added, “I can’t encourage small business owners enough to hang in there, to stick with it. We will see better days.”

Janet Steele, president of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, said she and Lebanon executive director Rebecca Grizzle had already met and have begun formulating what the program will look like.

“We are going to be partners in this and we hope to hire one person who will help us provide information and access to programs throughout all of Linn County,” Steele said. “We hope to find someone with expertise in the area and who can access what the new aid programs will look like, what’s going to be available.”

Steele said they are “excited to get this project going.”

The chambers will reach out to other communities such as Sweet Home and Brownsville.

To learn more, call the Albany Chamber of Commerce at 541-926-1517 or the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce at 541-258-7164.

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