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New bill could help Jacksonville small businesses struggling from pandemic

Businesses must show at least 25% revenue loss

Jacksonville small business Kuhn Flowers
Jacksonville small business Kuhn Flowers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While the city of Jacksonville is giving out millions of dollars to residents impacted by the coronavirus, a city council member wants to do the same for small businesses.

Tuesday, City Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber is introducing a plan that would set aside $9,000,000 to help companies that have lost business during the pandemic.

Business owners who can show they’ve lost at least 25% of their revenue would receive a one-time payment of up to $2,000 for rent and mortgage payments.

At Kuhn’s Flowers on Beach Boulevard, employees work hard making beautiful creations. But since the pandemic, the company’s vice president Anothy Swick said, the business has taken a hit.

“Right off the get-go, it happened. As soon as things started, we had to lay off a whole lot of staff members. Which is unfortunate. People weren’t spending money.”

Before COVID-19 Kuhn’s Flowers employed more than 60 people. When the pandemic hit, cancellations increased, and now, the number of people working inside is down because of distancing and low sales volume.

“Companies like us, we’ve been here 72 years,” Swick said. “We were impacted hugely. Everybody has. Worldwide, nationwide, statewide, citywide. We’ve all been affected."

That’s why Jacksonville’s city council is introducing the bill. To be eligible, businesses must meet the required criteria. Including:

  • Businesses must be located in Duval County
  • Open for at least a year as of February 29th.
  • Applicants must have fewer than 100 employees,
  • Must show at least a 25% drop in revenue since the start of the pandemic.

For Swick, a little bit of help can hopefully go a long way.

“It’s been a big impact all the way around. We all struggle as we all have, but we have to stick together as a community and make it work out,” he said.

If approved, the payments would work like a debit card.

The bill will be introduced Tuesday, but likely won’t come up for debate until next week.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.