Fort Wayne business owners respond to City closing CARES Act grant applications

The grant applications were introduced in late October to help with COVID-19 relief, but over 200 businesses and non-profits within city limits have already exhausted the funds.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 10:39 AM
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 10:40 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Firefly Coffee House is one of more than 200 city businesses that received federal funding from the CARES Act provided by the state of Indiana.

The CARES grant program is a partnership between the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County and Greater Fort Wayne Inc., offering small businesses and non-profit organizations grants up to $5,000 to cover expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul Demaree who shares ownership of the coffee shop with his wife Cyndi says, “We do this business not only for ourselves but for our community. So when we applied for a grant, it’s not just so that we can have more money to go on a vacation. It’s money so we can keep our store open and help the community heal and get through this.”

The City of Fort Wayne closed the application portal for grants to small businesses located inside City limits on Tuesday.

“It definitely only took less than a month to exhaust $750,000,” said Mary Tyndall, Community Development Public Information Officer at the City of Fort Wayne.

The CARES grant supplied a total of $1 million for COVID-19 related costs, $750,000 to the City of Fort Wayne and $250,000 to Allen County.
Demaree and his wife applied for the grant on Oct. 23, just two days after it was introduced.

Since then, the small businesses and non-profit organizations within Fort Wayne have already exhausted the funds.

The Demaree couple installed a tent at Firefly for outside seating with more space for social distancing, and more recently heaters for winter.
Both items will be reimbursed by the grant, which allows businesses with fewer than 150 employees to be repaid for expenses like personal protective equipment, sanitation products, minor facility changes, and technology investments.

Operations Director of Three Rivers Distillery Greg Bercaw says businesses and organizations that can no longer apply have to become creative to sustain themselves as long as the pandemic lasts.

“We have to continue to find ways to bring people in,” said Bercaw. “But we have to keep them safe.”

Andrea Robinson, head of the City of Fort Wayne’s Economic Development division, says she and her colleagues were excited to help local business owners during difficult times, but she knows the funding can only last so long.

“It’s great to be part of it, but it’s heartbreaking that there are so many people that need the money,” said Robinson.

The City hasn’t confirmed a plan following grant application deadlines, but Robinson says they plan to distribute more federal funding as soon as it’s available.
Businesses and non-profit organizations outside the city limits of Fort Wayne, but within Allen County may still apply for the CARES grant through Dec. 1

For more information, click here.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 306538

Reported Deaths: 5435
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion41953849
Lake26872453
Allen17621295
Elkhart16905219
St. Joseph16524223
Hamilton12696167
Vanderburgh9552115
Tippecanoe844927
Porter813785
Johnson6231165
Vigo597979
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Clark504077
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Warrick319572
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Cass295831
Marshall293744
Grant262949
Noble249846
Hancock246551
Boone240254
Henry240237
Dubois234631
Dearborn215730
Jackson212633
Morgan204443
Gibson181725
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Clinton177821
Lawrence174047
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Owen5987
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Newton55312
Tipton55226
Rush5317
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Pike50318
Pulaski37710
Martin3515
Benton3362
Brown3353
Crawford2881
Union2671
Switzerland2555
Warren2382
Ohio2307
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 371840

Reported Deaths: 6100
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin50231667
Cuyahoga36047741
Hamilton29931372
Montgomery20065228
Butler14769146
Lucas14317414
Summit13388316
Stark8792197
Warren819175
Mahoning7276299
Lake682666
Lorain643499
Clermont577248
Delaware556436
Licking549276
Fairfield538464
Trumbull5305147
Greene522364
Clark511464
Allen465485
Marion465251
Wood4491107
Medina447756
Miami425867
Pickaway399348
Columbiana347297
Portage344872
Tuscarawas328658
Wayne318793
Richland316638
Mercer289945
Hancock241337
Ross240759
Muskingum240210
Auglaize231031
Putnam224749
Erie224266
Darke223559
Ashtabula223253
Geauga203351
Scioto195915
Union19118
Shelby190615
Lawrence189438
Athens18864
Seneca180018
Belmont164929
Madison158918
Sandusky154229
Preble152621
Huron152318
Defiance139522
Holmes139139
Logan127816
Knox126318
Fulton124525
Washington121927
Crawford121516
Ottawa121130
Clinton106714
Williams10579
Ashland105222
Highland101317
Jefferson10124
Henry100023
Brown9925
Champaign9475
Jackson93112
Hardin91019
Fayette90317
Van Wert8976
Morrow8882
Guernsey83914
Coshocton82613
Perry78712
Adams78313
Pike7451
Gallia73513
Wyandot71216
Paulding64611
Hocking62616
Noble60223
Carroll45710
Meigs39012
Monroe31821
Morgan2575
Vinton2195
Harrison2023
Unassigned00
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