Business loan winners revealed

The 18 winners of city-provided, forgivable business loans were selected Monday, May 18, but it may not be the end of what the city makes available to local businesses. 

The winners of the forgivable loans were: Tom’s Professional Services; AJ’s Hideaway Bar and Grill; David B. Anderson, DDS, PC/Keizer Smiles; Jeff and Sheryl’s; Keizer Sub Shop; N-K Inc. DBA Uptown Music; Los Chiles Inc. DBA Los Dos Hermanos; KARM Safety Solutions; Pro-Gutters LLC; Pronto Signs LLC; Red Ginger, Inc.; Reliable Computer Services; Santana Insurance; The Grass Hut; Town & Country Lanes; Salon Paradise Inc.; Dazy Maze dba: The Maze; and Classic Tap Dance Studio, Inc.

City officials, backed by the Keizer City Council, established the loan program with $45,000 it plans to receive from Marion County’s Prosperity Fund. The money was divided into 18 $2,500 grants. Each business had to complete an online application showing they had staffing expenses impacted by forced closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The names of qualifying applicants were then put into a bucket and drawn randomly by City Manager Chris Eppley in front of two witnesses Monday. The money was expected to be disbursed no later than Thursday, May 21. 

However, there may be more support in the pipeline. 

Last week, the city was notified by Business Oregon last week that the Oregon Legislature had ordered $7.5 million to be disbursed to Oregon businesses in an effort to fill in gaps not met by other programs. The initial structure of the program, which could change, requires a 50 percent match on the part of municipal agencies. Community Development Director Nate Brown told city councilors that Keizer had applied to have the $45,000 forgivable loan program matched by Business Oregon’s Fund. 

The city’s loan program did not align completely with the guidelines Business Oregon had established, but Brown held out hope that Keizer would qualify. 

Business Oregon’s program requests that the money be directed at sole proprietorships with special emphasis on historically disadvantaged groups such as minority-owned or women-owned businesses. 

Brown said announcement of the recipients of the Business Oregon funds were expected by the end of the week. Provided that the qualifications for receiving loans does not change, Keizer businesses that applied for the first round of grants and did not receive a forgivable loan would be kept and put back into the pool of eligible recipients for the new funds if the city’s application is approved. Those who received money in the first round of grants would likely need to reapply. 

The city’s tight purse strings minimize its ability to put forward money for matching funds if that requirement remains in place.