DTSF Inc. gives $127,000 in grants to local businesses during COVID-19 closures

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While local businesses wait for federal help, Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. has its own stimulus package.

DTSF has given out $127,000 in grant money to member businesses. According to DTSF, businesses that applied for these grants have lost more than $2 million, shed 360 jobs, and furloughed 190 employees during the COVID-19 closures. DTSF hopes a stimulus will stop the bleeding.

At the Great Outdoor Store, you may find DeAnn Echols clutching a mobile device, and using a video all to help a customer virtual shop. To most of us, a personal shopper is only something rich people have, but doing this is just one creative thing DeAnn Echols is doing to keep from going broke. Online sales are driving the Great Outdoors Store while everyone is staying inside.

“It’s stressful,” Echols said.

While Echols waits for federal loans for the 15 employees here, she says DTSF’s grant program is helping her pay bills she has now.

“It’s really just been a great shot in the arm. Some of the other programs are taking much longer to get a response on,” Echols said.

DTSF has paid each approved applicant two installments of $1,000 so far. The money comes from the Downtown Economic Development Incentivize Fund.

Brady: “It’s like money saved for a rainy day, but then you realize it’s a tsunami out there.”
Vaney Hariri: “That’s an understatement!”

DTSF board member Vaney Hariri says the organization saw the need to step up for its members who have put their lives into their businesses.

“There’s no crystal ball for us, but we’re just trying to make sure we do what we can to get as many of them across the finish line,” Hariri said.

Echols says it creates security during an uncertain time.

Brady: “How do you think this is going to change you as a business owner when things get back to a new normal?”
Echols: “It’s going to change us for the better. Just to be a little more efficient. A little more cognizant of what’s going on day to day.”

To find a list of local businesses, visit Downtown Sioux Falls Inc.’s website.

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