Farmers & Merchants Bank has awarded grant money to local businesses in their 2021 Small Business Grant Program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on businesses throughout the past two years, and many business owners have had to make difficult adjustments to remain successful. Farmers & Merchants Bank committed $40,000 in 2021 to provide pandemic relief grants to help ease the strain businesses were feeling.
Farmers & Merchants Bank received over 600 applications to their grant program and awarded grants to 16 businesses, giving special consideration to businesses serving underrepresented communities.
“We achieved our objective to provide access to funding for small businesses who serve the low-to-moderate income communities within our footprint,” said Cheryl Ryman, F&M Bank Vice President and Community Reinvestment Act Officer.
Six businesses in Long Beach were awarded grants including Gallegos Family Childcare, Center for Best Living Inc., LA Document Services LLC, and Feel Good Salsa.
The grant money will aid these businesses in many different ways. During the pandemic, Feel Good Salsa had to make the change from in-person sales at farmers markets to strictly online sales; a change that was hard for the company. Owner Dina Feldman plans to improve her brands marketing, rebrand her products, and make changes to her website.
“Each of us has had to rethink how we conduct business during this pandemic while maintaining balance within our own households. I am grateful and proud of our team’s effort to create opportunities that support small businesses in our community,” said Andrea Carlson, F&M Bank Vice President and Fair & Responsible Lending Officer.
Farmers & Merchants bank aimed to help the community with the grant money they had allocated, and through helping small businesses they hope to impact the communities around them.
Many of the businesses are using the grant money to help support their current staff, pay rent, or provide more outreach into their communities.
Dr. Sandy Hardy plans to use the grant money given to Center for Best Living to assist the outreach of mental health services to those who are uninsured and have been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
“We are honored to be able to assist these small businesses during this uncertain time. We believe an investment in our local small businesses is an investment in our economic future,” said W. Henry Walker, F&M Bank President.
Farmers & Merchants Bank prioritizes helping local businesses and has continued to give back to the local community after many years of business development in Long Beach.
By Morgan Trivitt