BROAD RIPPLE, Ind. (WTHR) - Broad Ripple is home to hundreds of locally-owned businesses, from restaurants and boutiques to specialty shops and salons. Most have had to temporarily close or restrict their operations following state guidance during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Business owners are struggling to pay their bills and keep the lights on," said Colleen Fanning with the Broad Ripple Village Association. "One thing we're encouraging landlords to do is to give grace from a rent perspective, but business owners are facing really tough decisions."
A few businesses got together to see how they could help.
“What we've seen is that businesses are being really creative and innovative; they're adapting and surviving and now it's just about connecting people with ways they can support those businesses and those employees,” Fanning said.
They came up with a plan: Raise money and then divide it up between businesses having a tough time and employees who are struggling.
“We're going to give half of the money they pledge to purchase gift cards to small businesses in the Broad Ripple area that are struggling with cash flow. The other half we are cutting checks for $150 Rona Relief Award Gifts for service employees whose hours have been drastically cut or eliminated,” Fanning explained.
An employee can be nominated by anyone, or they can nominate themselves for a one-time $150 check. The money a business receives will be used to buy a gift card to that business.
Businesses who are less-impacted stepped up to pledge money, including TomatoFish, Brooksource, Eight Eleven, Innovatemap, and Demerly Architects.
Fanning said The Broad Ripple Village Association will keep the gift card to use later for promotional purposes, to help someone who’s struggling, or they may auction it off later.
The program already has had a great response from the community.
“We were able to get this program turned around in 72 hours and since Friday we've raised $13,000 and all that money is going to support small businesses and their employees,” Fanning said.
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