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Aces Restaurant has received a grant that owner Daniel Cullen says will help it get back to having diners inside.

Another 21 businesses have been approved for grants to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. The grants were for $5,000 each for the businesses that have 30 or fewer employees and require the companies to maintain their employment level.

“I think it is wonderful that we are able to get capital out to these businesses in our community,” said Daviess County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Bryant Niehoff. “It is really good to get the money out to those that have been hardest hit by this pandemic.”

The funding for the grants came from a $160,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) through Daviess County.

“I would hope that word is getting out to our businesses about this,” said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Nathan Gabhart. “I want to think they are using it in the right way. If they are just taking the $5,000 and putting it in their pocket, they are going to regret it. I am going to ensure that it is done right and if this isn’t used to retain employees then we are going to try and get the money back.”

This was the second round of approvals for the grant. So far $125,000 has been approved for area businesses, leaving $35,000 still available.

“Businesses that are in need can still apply,” said Niehoff. “We have an on-going application and acceptance process. All a business has to do is go to www.developdaviess.com and that will provide you with the information to apply and application to fill out.”

The businesses that have been approved so far range from dress shops to machine shops. One of the hardest hit sectors of the local economy by the pandemic has been restaurants and bars. A number of those businesses were on the latest round of funding.

“I am pretty relieved to find out we received the funding,” said Aces owner Daniel Cullen, whose restaurant and bar at the Washington Golf Course has been operating only on a carry-out basis. “We had been trying to hold off opening the dining room until we could go with 100% capacity, but it appears that we are stuck on 75%. We are going to go ahead and re-open the dining room.”

Cullen calls the grant a big help in getting the business back on its feet.

“When it comes to reopening, we want to do the smart, healthy, safe thing,” he said. “This will let us pay some bills. Get some staff hired and get the dining room back up and running.”

While the current OCRA grant is winding down, local officials are hoping to add another grant from the agency to keep businesses going in the county. The Daviess County EDC, county and city of Washington have all gone together and applied for a $250,000 grant to provide additional help to businesses that have been hurt by the pandemic.

“This one is expected to be more competitive,” said Niehoff. “We might be at a disadvantage because Daviess County has had the lowest unemployment rate in the state for the last three consecutive months. That still does not negate that there are businesses struggling because of COVID-19. We are cautiously optimistic that we might be able to land yet another grant that will be very similar to the premise of the current one.”

Other businesses receiving grants are Flex2Fit, The Taylor’ed Look, Susan Ramsey Fitness, A Touch of Heaven, C and S Machine, Dave’s Auto Repair, Double J Café, Elnora Body Shop, Eskew Sewer Cleaning, Iron Kettle Restaurant, MBS Outdoor Solutions, Miss Kelley’s Preschool, Odon Optical, Perry’s Certified Auto Exchange, Rachel Gray Trucking, Angle Inn, Reid’s Food and Stuff, Star Nails and Tara’s Salon and Day Spa.

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