Sonoma County Small Business Stabilization Grant:
Congratulations to our Small Business Stabilization Grantees. In partnership with Working Solutions, a Bay Area CDFI, the EDB and County of Sonoma was able to provide $2.5 million in grants to 542 Sonoma County businesses. This program was designed to assist small businesses in Sonoma County with between 1 and 30 employees with grants of $2,500 to $15,000 in Covid-19 relief funding to use towards expenses including payroll, utilities, rent or mortgage expenses.
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Testimonials District 1
“The Small Business Development Grant was recommended to me by a financial advisor who just happened to be in my area handing out business cards. (Mathew Walls of Edward Jones)
I am the owner and operator of the fitness franchise called Curves. I focus on helping women stay strong and fit with our 30 minute workout and weight management programs here in Santa Rosa and Winsdor communities.
During the Covid-19 pandemic we have adapted to offering new virtual programs to keep women safe at home also maintain a sense of community for those that enjoy exercising outdoors with our specialty classes that feature balance, agility, strength and flexibility. The grant has helped me make ends meet for utilities and rent and to maintain safety protocols for our members who join us for our outdoor programs.
-Cathy Brown, Franchise Owner, Curves
"I am pleased and honored to be a recipient of the Small Business Stabilization Grant offered by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. I thank you for making the program available.
I’m an acupressurist, and as a health care provider who usually sees clients in person, my income has been majorly affected by the pandemic. I’ve seen clients virtually since March 2020, but some have opted not to spend more time in front of the computer, which has affected revenue. I’ve brought all my workshops and programs into virtual platforms, which has created significant changes. All that has been good, as I’ve learned to be creative and change up what I had put in place over the twenty-five years I’ve been in practice.
Receiving funds from the grant has given me more resources for creating and promoting my programs. I had designed a stress reduction and resilience program for kids, teaching self-help acupressure for home and school use. The grant allows me to investigate new ways to bring that program into organizations, associations, and schools. The funds are also allowing me to distribute information about my workplace wellness program to businesses and organizations.
None of that could even be part of the picture if you hadn’t chosen me to receive the grant. I thank you for helping me be on the path to achieving my goals, even in the midst of the pandemic."
-Deborah Myers, Owner, Director, Deborah Myers Wellness & Health at Your Fingertips
"I am very thankful for receiving the grant that was made available to me in support of my business "Sonoma Beauty Store"..it was much appreciated."
-Peter Schamoni, Owner, Sonoma Beauty Store
“The Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance has mentored and empowered youth in Sonoma for over 25 years. We are the only one-on-one youth-serving organization in the Valley serving approximately 300 students per year. 87% of our mentees are Hispanic, and 62% live below the poverty line. However, we celebrate the achievements of our mentees and for the past 6 years, 100% of our high school seniors have graduated from high school with a plan to attend a four-year university, junior college, trade school, or go directly into the workforce.
Our team of 8 dedicated and skilled staff members oversee the mentor and mentee relationships and work closely with our coaching staff to provide the guidance needed throughout the duration of the relationships, many of which last 8 plus years.
Due to COVID, we have implemented a virtual mentoring program, and as a result over 95% of our matches are in touch weekly. Our staff oversees weekly Zoom mentoring meetings, and we host socially distanced outdoor program activities to keep our matches engaged. Our partnership with the Sonoma Valley Unified School District allows us to ensure all of our mentees are receiving the necessary tools to be successful with virtual learning.”
-Susie Gallo, Executive Director, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance
“Thank you Sonoma County Economic Development Board for the honor of being a recipient of your Grant.
Like during Covid-19 has taught us many things, the most important is that we all matter and we must care for each other.
My passenger transportation company has been hit hard losing 90% of our revenue. We understand the fear our clients have of getting on a bus with people they may know from a club or their church, but are still strangers when we view it through Covid-19 eyes.
Thunderstar has tried to pivot, by selling off out larger equipment and only offering transportation in our 28 passenger Mini Buses, or 9 passengers Van. (Using only half the seats for social distancing) Your grant has helped us update out website, pay utility bills, keep insurance on our equipment.
Most important is that you have given my company and my employees the opportunity to help other in our community. I have ear marked some of your grant money to help provide transportation to vaccination sites. Contacted Veterans Organizations, Women Shelters and asked friends to spread the word that we are here, free of charge to those that need help with transportation to a vaccination center in the coming months.
Thank you for helping us, and allowing us to help our neighbors.”
-Anne Picchi, CEO, Thunderstar Stages
Testimonials District 2
"Receiving the Small Business Development Grant, was the light at the end of the tunnel. This year has been unpredictable for many small businesses, mine include. As a business owner, you jump through every and any hoop needed to keep your business alive. Receiving the grant, was reassurance that my business was going to make it. I am beyond grateful for the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and Working Solutions. Their continued support for local, small businesses does not go un-noticed!”
-Mercedes Hernandez, Owner, Bow N Arrow Clothing
“Chili Joe’s is a small restaurant on Petaluma Boulevard South which opened in May, 2018. We received the accolade of “Best New Restaurant” from the Argus Courier in 2019 and are looking forward to continuing to serve our wonderful customers. In March of 2020, we closed the restaurant for Spring Break to handle some family business in Los Angeles and haven’t been opened since. Our small size coupled with lack of outdoor seating led us to conclude that our best option was to keep our doors closed until we can fully reopen. We are very appreciative of this grant which will help us ride out the pandemic and winter weather and reopen when it is safe to do so.”
-Wendy Taylor & Mark Yuwiler, Owners, Chili Joe’s Restaurant
“The Small Business Stabilization Grant means a lot to us here at Daily Acts Organization. Our mission is to inspire transformative action that creates connected, equitable climate resilient communities. 2020 was a tough year for us, as many small businesses and non-profit organizations, we had to pivot from in-person activity for every aspect of our work. Instead of our typical fundraising events and on-the-ground workshops, we migrated online. Grants such as this, help us extend our staff to learn new ways of working and continuing this important work while keeping our community engaged. We were able to hold online educational webinars for over the default limit of 100 attendees several times. We are grateful for this Grant.”
"Once again, let me express my gratitude for being awarded this Grant. It has been a very hard year for so many businesses and having mine be selected was heart whelming.
This money helped to pay for two part time employees who I hired when I opened for dinner two nights a week to offset the loss of lunch patrons as they now work for home. Though the dinners were received well, I got a late start in the year rolling it out, August, and as the months passed and the weather changed, I stopped dinners in November. Too cold for people to sit outside, even with heaters. To go orders were very small. They will hibernate until the spring and I will reintroduce them again. This was a good learning experience for me as we all try to be inventive.
Warm regards to all of you who worked so hard making this possible."
-Kim Hanson, Owner, JavAmore Cafe Penngrove
"The Petaluma Phoenix Center is an all-ages, nonprofit community center and performance space that has been forced to cease operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We received a small business stabilization grant from EDB and it, along with donations and other grants, was a tremendous help. This grant allowed us to pay for several months of fixed utilities and maintenance costs. We operate the Phoenix as "everybody's building" but, of course, that use is centered around people physically using the space for performances, art projects, social interaction and much more. Our belief is that the Phoenix will make it through this period and once again be utilized as the community asset it has been for the past century. Until then, we would have a very difficult time making it through this period without the help of organizations like SCEDP. Thank you for your support!"
-Jim Agius, Board member, Petaluma Phoenix Center
Testimonials District 3
"This grant helped keep us on our path. We opened A R E T E W A Y in 2019 to counteract the devastating effects of fashion on environment, people, and animals everywhere. We encouraged people to clean out their closets & bring their unwanted items to A R E T E W A Y for a great buy/sell/trade experience.
When COVID hit, buy/sell/trade just didn’t work any more. We relied instead on new gift item sales and online re-sale to try to get by. The Small Business Development Grant gave us just enough breathing room to begin developing an idea we’d been percolating for years, a line of reimagined/reconstructed tops and dresses, made from used and vintage garments and textiles like men’s shirts, tablecloths, scraps, & ends, items that would likely end up in the landfill otherwise.
We’re making heirloom quality classic feminine styles in modern comfortable iterations with details like puff sleeves, ruffles, and hand work. We’ll drop small collections of one-off pieces to be sold on aretewayshop.com.
Online sales are more practical & more prevalent now, and hopefully e-commerce sales of our reclaimed clothing collection will allow us to continue offering sustainable alternatives to the waste & destruction of traditional & fast fashion."
-Lily Luong & Mary C. Delany (Daughter & Mother, Co-Founders), A R E T E W A Y LLC
"My name is Miriam Medina, owner of Betty’s Taxes, I want to thank You for this grant, I have 3 years working on my own, and continue working hard to ensure the success of my company, with the help of this grant that I received I will cover part of my business expenses and to continue giving employment to my assistant.
Thank You for this financial support I highly appreciated."
-Miriam B Medina, Owner, Betty’s Taxes
"First off, I will like to take this opportunity to say thank you so much to all of you. I personally have been really stressed worrying about the future of my business and staff, I worked in the office doing clerical work and have staff working in the field. After the Covid in order for me not to lose my business and continue with new rule on paying 80 hrs the employee in quarantine, I have to worked double time office and field in order for me to come up with this extra budget to pay my sick employees. But after I received this grant it was a relief mentally and physically knowing that there was help for my business and staff."
-Regina, Owner, Diamond Quality Cleaning Services
"My name is Anna Ortega, and am the owner of Exclusive Spa in the heart of Downtown Santa Rosa, during this epidemic our industry in the Beauty industry has been tremendously impacted in this time of need. I am a sole prop with a couple of employees and 12 Independent contractors, everyone in our industry has been affected. The state has not provided enough help to us Small business owners and all my co-workers have been able to apply for the self Independent contractor help through EDD, which is great for them but we the owners it is not enough to help because we are responsible for the business itself. With my business being shut down for more than half of the year I am still responsible for the overhead of my lease and all the same current bills, have limited my space capacity to follow the state to allow us to keep working to obey state accordance to operating, and still having a hard time serving. By applying for additional help in our county it has helped because it allows us more time for our business to survive during these hard times. I am truly very honored I have received help from our county grants because it has helped me provide a little more time to keep my business running and currently shut down again I hope our county/state has a solution for us, small business owners because if there is not enough help we will see a chain reaction of business closing in our beautiful county. Once again Thank you Sonoma County."
-Anna Ortega, Owner, Exclusive Spa
"We at Morpheus Medical Aesthetics, are a team of women dedicated to the health and well-being of our clients. Our doors were completely closed from March through June this year and we have had to change the way we do business since re-opening in the world of COVID-19 contagiousness. That said, we have embraced using personal protective equipment and expanded disinfection routines to keep ourselves and our clients safe. We have re-organized the flow of people in the office so that there is nobody ever in the waiting room. Clients have separate spaces to check out and to reschedule their follow up appointments.
We deeply appreciate the support of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and have used our grant funds to help us transition our business practice to include more online interaction with our clients. Specifically, we built an online store that facilitates curbside pickups and home deliveries of our products, reducing the need for in-person shopping. Thank you so very much! #SonomaStrong #ResiliencyIsAMuscle"
-Marisha Chilcott, Owner, Morpheus Medical Aesthetics
"My name is Lourdes Rosales, and I am the owner of Rosales Catering. I received an economic relief of $2,500 that helped me pay the rent of my installation for a month. I appreciate it so much because it’s a lot of help for a business, since the first time the funds ran out very quickly, and this time they helped me and it was a great support. Thank you all very much!"
-Lourdes Rosales, Owner of Rosales Catering
“After the devastating loss of our home and home daycare business in 2017, it was various community partnerships that helped us put our lives back together.
The collective professionalism, compassion of the childcare community, and leadership that guided and advocated on our behalf. They were there with tools to help us through the fog of uncertainty.
We had to negotiate a new business model, while grieving our loss. After sheer determination, we opened an infant center April 2018. What was meant to be a six-month, temporary situation, turned into almost 2 ½ years.
When given the green-light to move forward with the remodel of our permanent space, set to begin Monday, March 16, 2020, we were faced with, yet another, devastating set-back. We would labor under the unknown, new regulations, and protocols, during a world-wide pandemic known as covid-19.
Relentless persistence, remarkable community relationship-heroes and many others share this victory with us. We realize this daily.
We appreciate the grant and services we have benefitted from because it is reciprocated back into the community; services we provide families during these days of seemingly relentless overwhelm.
Thank you for helping us to continue our work in the community.”
-Mrs. Cary Ann Rich, Director, SR Rise and Shine Child Care Center
"SOS Community Counseling provides mental health therapy to anyone who may request it regardless of their ability to pay. Our clients are experiencing a greater number of traumatic and triggering events in Sonoma County that are deeply affecting their mental health. Because we have received this grant, we are able to keep our clinicians staffing the agency in such a way that meets the demand of our community. We are grateful to receive this grant because we know that the long term effects of trauma are passed down from generation to generation. At SOS, we are promoting health not just for the individual in the therapy room; but also the family and community that surrounds them for years to come."
-Becky Ennis, Executive Director, SOS Community Counseling
Testimonials District 4
"The grant I received made it possible for me to rehire one person in a full time position, as well as purchasing a new water heater to replace the old one that was leaking. The grant also made it possible for me to pay all health insurance cost for my full time employees, even those that are not working. The application process was very easy, and I appreciated the quick response time."
-Lisbeth Holmefjord, Owner, Baci Cafe & Wine Bar
"We are very grateful we received the Small Business Stabilization Grant for our small Montessori Pre School in Healdsburg. We know how important child care is to our community and how essential it has been during this pandemic to create some sort of normalcy for the growth and development of preschool aged children. We have been fortunate to remain open and offer childcare to our valued families. We are operating on minimal enrollment due to state guidelines but still at full expense levels. Our teachers are to be truly commended for showing up at school during these challenging times to be educators to the future leaders of our community. We were able to use at least half of this grant as end of year bonuses to our teachers to show them our deepest appreciation for being there for the students and families."
-Sarah Hildreth, Owner and Director, Healdsburg Montessori School
"For a small business contractor, knowing we will be paid in a timely manner is essential to maintaining operations, particularly as we all businesses face new uncertainties associated with changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sonoma County Economic Development understood this and acted to support small businesses by offering a Small Business Stabilization Grant.
Miranda Vineyard Management and members are humble by this generosity provided and would like to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to Sonoma County Economic Development for this valuable assistance. Receiving this emergency grant funding has been a tremendous support as we depend on regular cash flow, which is particularly important during these unprecedented times. Miranda Vineyard Management plays a crucial role in the agricultural sector which is one of largest source of employment in Sonoma County. Thanks to the generous contribution we received, Miranda Vineyard Management was able to maintain its employees in their current positions and assist those affected by COVID-19. We greatly appreciate your support."
-Luis Miranda and Cecilia Miranda, Owners, Miranda Vineyard Management
"On behalf of The Movement Lab dance studio in Santa Rosa, I would like to thank the Economic Development Board for our Small Business Grant. With the money granted, I was able to pay my building utilities and contribute towards rent for our building. The Movement Lab is such a vital outlet for our community and with your help, we were able to make it one more month! We continue to offer ZOOM classes and pop-up dance classes for the community and our Special Needs Community. Thank you for helping keep the ARTS ALIVE during this time."
-Bernadette Alverio-Tonks, Owner/Director, The Movement Lab
"Our grant allowed us to keep our doors open through the winter. For our employees this meant they could continue to support their families, pay for their school and avoid the gut wrench of economic insecurity that comes with a job search during a pandemic. For the community, staying open allowed us to maintain our reliability as a place where you can always find good food, good wine and good people. We were able to do holiday dinners, and were pleasantly surprised how many of our customers jumped on this. So many people spent the holidays alone, so having us do the cooking was a relief for many. We also did a “pay what you can” lasagna dinner on Christmas Eve, and gave out many free dinners. This is why we do this job; as hard as it is, bringing comfort and nourishment to people and seeing their mood lift as they enjoy our food and service makes it all worthwhile."
-Chef Aaron Arabian, The Trading Post
Testimonials District 5
“Community Matters is a grateful recipient of the Small Business Stabilization Grant. This grant provided funding that helped us innovate and adapt programs for online delivery.
- Programming delivered via Zoom including Safe School Ambassadors; Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention training; Student Assemblies; Restorative Practices trainings for educators and families
- Hosting virtual Safe School Ambassadors meetings, providing essential connection and engagement for K-12 students
- Providing training that helped educators engage students, creating a positive and restorative classroom community during distance learning
- Piloting an online training designed to empower students to identify, prevent and get help for issues surrounding sexual abuse and molestation
- Launching a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) toolkit that provides educators with tips to meet the needs of their students as they adjusted to distance learning
- Developing community-based avenues for delivery of programs to connect, equip and engage youth – connecting kids to help reduce feelings of isolation while providing them with skills and motivation to be kind leaders.
We greatly appreciate the support of our community partners in helping us fulfill our mission to equip and empower students and adults to create schools and communities that are safe, welcoming and inclusive.”
-Erica Vogel, CEO, Community Matters
"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the Sonoma County EBD grant program.
My name is Coy Brown and I am the owner of Coy Brown Painting. My company has been serving Sonoma County since 1979, and now has fifteen full time employees.
Like many businesses, we were dramatically affected by the coronavirus epidemic. We used a variety of loans to keep afloat but we were going to have to lay off two or three people right before Christmas. Your generous grant kept those people employed and now work is picking up.
Once again thanks to all involved."
-Coy Brown, Owner, Coy Brown Painting
"Food For Thought is a Sonoma County nonprofit that since 1988 has provided food support to community members impacted by serious illness. This year, we expanded to serve our low-income neighbors who test positive for COVID-19.
In this difficult time, our staff and food expenses have increased dramatically as we more than doubled the number of people we serve. Our small business stabilization grant was used to meet this need, and feed thousands of people -- people like Elideth:
“My 9-year old daughter and I tested positive for COVID. I had to stop working, but we still had to pay rent, and we didn’t have money for food. And you brought us food for free. Food For Thought, you are helping so much through this time. And to people helping Food For Thought with funds, you are amazing. Amazing.”
In 2020, Food For Thought served over 2,200 people in need with groceries, meals, vitamins, supplements and nutrition education. Thank you for your support!"
-Karen Gardner, Grants and Special Projects Manager, Food For Thought
"I am ever so grateful for this grant that enabled me to cover rent utilities and payroll during another shelter in place. The unwavering support of my community in Sonoma County is so heartwarming. Thank you!"
-Sarah Piccolo, Owner, Fork Roadhouse
“I am so grateful I was able to receive the Small Business Stabilization Grant as it was desperately needed in helping me keep my business moving forward. It has allowed me to pay for rent and some inventory. I have been struggling to pay rent every month after our first forced closures. Staying in business has become a fight I had not expected as things were moving somewhat smoothly before the COVID-19 pandemic.
I was unable to secure any loans for my business including the PPP and SBA loans that were being offered for disaster relief. The Sonoma County Economic Development Board gave me my hope and strength back when I say my application was approved for the Small Business Stabilization Grant.
Thank you so very much."
-Ingrid, Zurlo, Owner, WhipperSnappers