WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Small businesses and restaurants have become the focal point for economic recovery as the city of Winston-Salem looks toward the future.
In a news conference on Friday, Mayor Allen Joines announced that the city has lost a minimum of $13 million over the past few months.
Much of that money comes from sales tax, something city leaders have not seen a lot of with businesses and stores closed or with a limit on customers.
The mayor said the main thing to help get out of the coronavirus recession is relying on small businesses.
Businesses have taken advantage of the funds available from the city and the state.
They are also encouraged to apply for a new campaign titled “One Tile Campaign.” Local community group Soy Emprendedor (I am an Entrepreneur) and marketing/branding company The Cumi Group set up the campaign, with the Winston-Salem mayor’s office and the personal support of Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough.
It allows local entrepreneurs and residents in the city to donate money that will go into the “Restart Winston-Salem One Tile” fund.
Businesses can then apply for a portion of that fund through the website.
They have until June 15 to apply, to apply, and will be reviewed for approval by the campaign’s fund distribution committee.
Campaign representatives said that they want to reach an initial funding goal of $20,000 to distribute to businesses.
The city has announced that it will allow restaurants to extend their seating to the sidewalks and empty parking lots.
It will be something each business will have to apply for permission to do.
“It’s going to bring some attention to downtown, and it’s going to show that we are trying to make things safe and responsible,” Will Kingery said.
Kingery owns several restaurants in downtown Winston-Salem including King’s Crab Shack and Oysters and Willow’s Bistro.
He said the financial loans, and the extension of business capacity will help businesses dig themselves out of the economic holes. However, they won’t be able to stable out until they start to see customers steadily return.
“Right now, with the courthouse being closed, that’s a lot of people who are not downtown. … The downtown area, we do have residents, but a lot of people just aren’t coming downtown, because they’re working from home.”