Garland Business District raising money for local businesses impacted by pandemic

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Garland Business District is raising funds to help local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district has more than 80 small businesses, some of which have been in the Garland District for more than 30 years.

“I love the Garland District in the fact that it’s rare, funky and unique,” said Jim Mackenzie, the owner of Coolectibles.

As many can guess from the store name, Mackenzie’s store sells collectables.

“I am what my customers call a man-cave heaven. I cater to the dude, beer, sports, rock and roll, anything you put in a man cave,” he said.

Lately, though, he hasn’t been able to cater to anyone. He closed down shop on March 13.

“This is my sole source of income. I’m a single dad, I have two my kids at home, that part has been tricky, because our income went down to zero,” he told 4 News now.

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Restrictions during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order impacted many of those businesses, to the point of a combined $1 million loss.

Julie Shepard-Hall, the president of the Garland Business District Association, says about 90 percent of their business district closed during the shut down.

“Which is over 70 businesses,” she added.

Now, the GBD is working to gather financial contributions in an effort to save some of those businesses. Shepard-Hall said their goal is to give $5,000 to each business, if possible.

“It’s a big ask, we might not get there, but if we can get $2,000 for each business, that would help them,” she said.

It could help some on the path forward to reopening. One that’s been a big adjustment.

Restaurants and stores now look different, taping off some areas where customers can’t sit, along with leaving some tables empty for social distancing.

That’s what it looked like at Ferguson’s. The cafe was lucky enough to get a PPP loan to reopen; any extra money would be a boost for them.

“That’s why we finally could open because of the loan. Hopefully with all of that we will be able to stay open,” said Amy Lewis, a cook at Ferguson’s.

That’s also the hope for Mackenzie as he gets ready to reopen the doors Wednesday, not knowing what will come.

“I believe, and my kids believe, that it’ll work out because it’s supposed to and if it doesn’t, we’ll figure something else out,” he said.

For those who don’t feel comfortable enough to go out yet, but want to help local businesses, click here to learn more on how to help.

Shepard-Hall says once the association raises enough money to be able to distribute, it will ask businesses to fill out a request to receive the funds with the help from a committee.

READ: Spokane County approved to advance to phase 2 of reopening plan

READ: Local businesses navigate ‘new normal’ under phase 2 guidelines