$5,000 in grant money being offered to help small businesses in SJ, SF gear up for winter

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- We're still months away from the official start to the winter season. Still, small business owners know it's never too early to begin preparing- especially during the pandemic.

"Even though we are lucky to have sort of a late summer, once we hit winter, we're going to have some issues once that weather comes in," Rachel Kaiser told ABC7 News.

Kaiser is the general manager at District San Jose.

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It's the threat of bad weather that's behind Kaiser's push for $5,000 in grant money. The funds are meant to help businesses cover the cost of heating equipment, tents and more.

"For the quote we got for our tents, it doesn't quite cover it," Kaiser admitted. "I would say it's about 60-percent of what we would need, but that would help us of course. Any costs that we can get, any grant that we can get, we're appreciative for."

On October 16th, restaurants can apply to receive part of the $150,000 being dedicated to San Jose. This is part of DoorDash's Main Street Strong Initiative.

DoorDash, Mayor Sam Liccardo's office and The Silicon Valley Organization are partnering to provide a little relief.

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"In the end of the day, what we really need is significant amount of federal investment, if we're going to be able to keep folks afloat through this pandemic," Mayor Liccardo told ABC7 News. "I hope that folks in Washington will come to their senses and come to a deal that can inject dollars back into local communities."

Kaiser shared, "Our federal loans are going to be running out. Our payroll is an issue. There's all these issues that are coming up. It's a fear for all of us, especially as a small business. Anything can change."

DoorDash is making these grants available in select cities across the U.S. including Chicago, Denver, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Liccardo added, "We got 300 days of sun a year. But the truth is, out here on the West Coast, we're kind of weather wimps. We don't like to sit out there in the cold for too long. So, having a little heater outside next to a tent works a lot better."

In a press release shared by DoorDash, the company's Public Policy and Partnerships Lead, Mariah Ray said, "Our city's restaurants are finally starting to move forward, and we have to help them maintain the momentum."

"DoorDash is deeply committed to supporting our restaurant partners and the communities we serve. This initiative will provide critical financial support to keep restaurants going through the cold weather, and we're appreciative of The Silicon Valley Organization's shared support," the release continued.

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The Silicon Valley Organization added, the move means economic growth for San Jose and a small step forward for small business.

"I'm very grateful for DoorDash's contribution, but the truth is that we're going to need many, many hands to lift this village up and to be able to help other small businesses survive this winter season," Eddie Truong, Director of Government and Community Relations at The Silicon Valley Organization told ABC7 News.

He continued, "The winterizing program gives small restaurants a fighting chance to be able to earn their own income and survive until such time that there's a vaccine."

Truong also shared, "I do know that they are going to prioritize immigrants and a certain income threshold to make sure that our neediest restaurants get those specific resources."

According to DoorDash: "Eligible restaurants will be located in San José with three or fewer locations operating currently, 50 employees or fewer in 2019, and $3M or less in 2019 annual revenue per store."

Restaurants interested in applying can find the application beginning October 16 on the Hello Alice website.

"The program will be administered by Hello Alice, an independent third party, who will manage the application and selection processes as well as the distribution of funds. Grant recipients will be selected via a process intended to help ensure equal access to funds and eliminate selection bias," per DoorDash.

Grant recipients are expected to be notified by the end of December.

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