ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) – The City of Englewood has money to help small business owners, especially restaurants, bars and gyms. They have $25,000 in grants to help businesses purchase patio heaters and fire pits.
The news could not have come at a better time for places like Colore Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, where indoor dining is currently prohibited because of COVID-19. They are trying their best to make use of outdoor space.
Owner Chris Millette said, “It’s been great. It’s made a difference. It makes it a little more comfortable for people out there. Would’ve been an extra expense we would’ve had to pick up.”
Millette was able to purchase five outdoor propane heaters with the $1,000 grant from the city. He said the heaters are a necessary and welcome addition.
“They really do throw a lot of heat. We’ve been really happy with them. We’ve had people sit outside and ask for them to be turned down or had to put their hat back on because the top of their head was getting too warm,” Millette said. “People are getting a little more accustomed to dressing warmer. We encourage people to bring a blanket, that’s a big one right there, so I think people overall are willing to embrace it.”
Englewood’s manager of economic development, Darren Hollingsworth, said it’s a pleasure helping small businesses during this challenging time.
“I think it’s a watershed moment for our community and across the country in dealing with this pandemic and being able to respond quickly. And that quick response is necessary because businesses feel this in a timely manner,” Hollingsworth said.
Hollingsworth said the money comes from the federal “CARES Act” and the turn-around time to get a grant approved is about three days. The fire marshal has to approve the plans.
The city has enough for about 12 more grants, Hollingsworth said. Interested business owners must apply by Dec. 16.
Business owners are thankful for the financial help, but they also say the city and the fire department have offered creative solutions.
“We had a plan of what we were going to do that didn’t really meet fire code, so the fire department came in and met with us and gave us some different ideas of what we could do,” Millette said.
They are doing everything they can to encourage people to continue to support local businesses.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if its our business or somebody else’s, just take care of the businesses that are in your neighborhood and that’s the best that you can do for your community,” Millette added.