DEED Commissioner Steve Grove Visits Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – Small businesses in the Northland have been taking huge financial hits due to the global pandemic.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner visited Duluth on Wednesday to hear first-hand stories from some of those business owners and how grant funding has helped them rebuild.

India Palace in Duluth has been serving traditional Indian cuisine to the community for several years.

Just like many other small businesses in the area, its future remained uncertain as the pandemic continues to put a strain on the economy.

Thanks to 30,000 in financial assistance from the Minnesota Small Business Emergency Loan Program, the owner is letting out a sigh of relief.

“I was very happy we had access to it because we were very desperate. We were actually thinking about closing down because there were days we weren’t even making $100,” said Welie Harlu.

Through this loan program businesses like India Palace can use the money to pay for rent or other obligations necessary to help pull them out of their financial struggles.

DEED Commissioner Steve Grove believes programs such as this one are critical in helping these businesses survive.

“I think in particular the restaurant industry has been hit hardest among any other industry in the state,” said Grove. “It’s important to me that we just don’t think about that in St. Paul that we get out into the market and talk to business leaders to see what they are dealing with. Also to understand their concerns to learn more about what the government can do to help.”

50% of the loan money awarded to India Palace is being forgiven.

The rest will have to be repaid over a 30-year term to give the business plenty of time to rebuild.

The state has also been administering the Small Business Emergency Grant Program, which has already awarded $10,000 each to nearly 300 businesses in the region.

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