MECOSTA, OSCEOLA, LAKE COUNTIES — As local facilities struggle to stay afloat during the recent coronavirus pandemic, area business owners have the opportunity to apply for up to $10,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Michigan Small Business Relief Fund (MSBRF).

The Michigan Small Business Relief Grant helps provide money to one or more local economic development organizations or nonprofit economic development organizations in need. Grants can be as high as $10,000 to support certain small businesses statewide which have endured financial hardship due to the recent coronavirus outbreak.

Grants may be used to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses which occur in the ordinary course of business.

According to Mecosta County Development Corporation President Jim Sandy, Mecosta County is designated to get a total of $31,000.

"Our application requests now are close to half a million dollars," he said. "We are not going to do much with $31,000, but there are other resources that are becoming available."

With more than 40 businesses having already applied for funding, Sandy said the criteria for deciding who will receive money is still being developed.

"This is a temporary situation and things will get better," Sandy said, asking residents to use the Mecosta County Development Corporation website, mecostaedc.com, to stay up to date on information and to find more resources.

Interested in applying for the grant herself, Old Pioneer Store and Kilwins Big Rapids co-owner Carlleen Rose plans to spend her afternoon applying for as much funding aid as she can.

"(The coronavirus) has pretty much destroyed my business," she said, noting how she's had to cancel merchandise for the spring season and lay off her employees for the first time ever.

"The shock has worn off from last week, which was such a shocking week, and now we're into survival mode."

Being just her and her husband, Brian, at the store, Rose said she's doing her best to keep a smile on her face as she faces the coming weeks.

"I'm more concerned about my community and how all of us will get through this together," Rose said. "I will say, and I've said it before, I can't imagine a better community to be in when faced with a crisis.

"I want so much for, when this is over with, that we can still have the same businesses that we have."

For now, Rose said she will take it one day at a time and will continue to apply for financial help when she can.

"I know there are a lot of small businesses that are in trouble right now, and we're one of them," she said. "We're going to go and do our best to fight our way out of this and figure out what we can do that will work out for our business and for our customers."

Applications for Ionia, Montcalm, Newaygo, Lake, Oceana, Barry, Mason, Mecosta, Muskegon and Osceola counties close at 5 p.m. Friday.

Once applications are approved, funding is expected to be disbursed mid-April.

Business owners are asked to complete their application and profit and loss statements before sending them to their local representative in their county.

For more information, visit rightplace.org/for-local-business/small-business-relief-grant.

Interested? Here's who to contact:

Mecosta County: Jim Sandy, Mecosta County Development Corporation, jsandy@mecostacounty.org, 231-250-9226

Osceola County: Dan Massy, Osceola County Community and Economic Development Dept., dmassy@osceolacountymi.com, 231-832-7397

Lake County: Jodi Nichols, The Right Place, Inc., nicholsj@rightplace.org, 231-742-3328

What makes you eligible?

• The company is in an industry outlined in Executive Order 2020-9, or any subsequent Executive Order of similar intent (“EO”), or demonstrates it is otherwise affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, that meets one or more of the following: provides support to impacted employees, is located in a downtown district or high impact corridor or has 50 employees or less, or is a company that provides services to companies outlined in the EO and requires additional employees to support to companies or employees impacted by EO;

• Has 50 employees or less;

• Needs working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses which occur in the ordinary course of business; and

• Is able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.

This information was found at rightplace.org/for-local-business/small-business-relief-grant.