- Cathy O’Connor
Small businesses continue to benefit from OKC program
Over the past month, I’ve shared several stories about local businesses and nonprofits helped with funding and technical assistance from the Small Business Continuity Program. When asked about what impact these support programs made on their business, many tell us it was their lifeline.
That’s the case with Blue Seven, the clothing and gift boutique on May Avenue. They used their SBCP grant to maintain their payroll and health insurance for employees and pay their rent and utilities during the lowest points in the pandemic. They built a plexiglass shield for the register and adjusted the layout and combined inventory into a smaller space. The store is seeing a steady increase in customers after doing everything possible to stay open.
The owner of Local Lather on Western told us that the support from the SBCP was Oklahoma City’s greatest act of kindness toward her small business. This soap laboratory used the funds to create a vestibule entrance with new display shelving and plexiglass to separate customers from the personnel and had a sink installed to allow customers to try the soap and lotion products, all made by hand on site. The company has also made shipping available for gift packages. Local Lather will also roll out new product packaging, a project that would have been back-burnered without the support of the SBCP program. The new labels arrive next week.
Shaka, the tropical restaurant inspired by Hawaii that is located in The Collective, used the technical assistance grant program to rebrand. They worked with a marketing firm to create a new website that makes online ordering easier and they placed social media advertising to show off their delicious menu and remind potential customers about curbside pickup and delivery options.
I commend these businesses for their work during an incredibly difficult time to maintain their payroll and adapt to a new way of providing their goods and services. These business owners have a renewed optimism about 2021 in Oklahoma City. We can all help to realize that optimism by supporting our local businesses.
The Small Business Continuity Program and technical assistance program were authorized by the city of Oklahoma City with CARES Act funding and the programs were administered by The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.