Small business owners take advantage of grants; deadline to apply for another round Friday

SPOKANE, Wash. — Toi Mulligan loves her floral shop, The Gilded Lily, located on Monroe. She’s had it for more than 25 years now.

“It’s my dream. I wish I could’ve started it sooner,” she told 4 News Now.

Mulligan opened The Gilded Lily when she was 54. Achieving that dream of opening a floral shop was worth everything.

“I had to draw Social Security early at 62 to help pay a lot of expenses when I started. I like to pay the building, mortgage,” she said. “Now, this is like my retirement.”

It all started to wilt because of COVID. Restrictions tightened up her income, too. No weddings and funeral services meant there was no need for floral arrangements.

“I lost a lot,” she said.

She needed some help, and she got it through a grant from the Washington Department of Commerce. She received that money in 2020, being able to help pay for property taxes and insurance on her business.

Now, small businesses owners have another chance to get some more money. The department opened up its fourth round of grants and some business owners can get up to $25,000.

“This is a chance for them to potentially get some grant funds, not a loan, they can use to pay their expenses and keep things going while hopefully we open and things get a little bit back to normal,” said Lisa Brown, the director for the Washington’s Department of Commerce.

For some small minority business owners, it may be tough to navigate all the paperwork for the grant application. However, Brown said they have technical and language help for those in need.

Brown says they reached out to historically disadvantaged communities to see how they can make it easier for them to get help.

The department says it will prioritize businesses which have shut down due to COVID restrictions.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Friday at 5 p.m. So far since the start of the pandemic, the Department of Commerce gave away more than $110 million to businesses in need across Washington. More than 10,400 businesses received that money; 601 of them in Spokane County.

Since the application portal opened up for the fourth round of grants, the department received more than 11,400 applications as of Wednesday morning. Nearly 600 of them are from businesses in Spokane County.

For more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply, click here.

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