Chicago, IL — State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), along with Representative Ann Williams and Representative Lindsey LaPointe, called upon the Pritzker administration to add independent retailers into consideration for the next round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) for those suffering from COVID related revenue losses.
Without access to BIG grants or much of any assistance, retailers are still required to pay 100% of their rent, utilities, employee salaries and benefits despite only being open at 25% capacity.
These small, independent businesses are woven into the fabric of our communities,” said Feigenholtz. “These retailers are on the precipice and communities are at risk of losing the character and charm that neighbors love.”
According to the American Independent Business Alliance, 48 percent of each purchase at a local, independent business is recirculated locally. This is compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores.
“COVID-19 has been devastating to our communities. In the 19th district, many small retail owners live right in the district and have innovated to stay afloat. As the pandemic wares on, we must provide life lines for their livelihoods and our communities,” stated LaPointe.
Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago) added, “The grim reality is that small businesses are where the jobs are, and losing local jobs that often pay sustainable, living wages with benefits and return their profits directly to the community is untenable.”
A growing list of legislators including, Senator Laura Fine, Representative Yoni Pizer and Representative Lamont Robinson, are urging the Governor and DCEO to include these independent businesses in the next round of BIG grants. DCEO has an additional $200M in funds to distribute in grants.