GROVER BEACH, CA – While the local economy has experienced setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Grover Beach in partnership with the South County Chambers of Commerce (Chamber) is working hard to make sure there are resources and assistance available to help currently established and future businesses in our community.
Since January, the City and Chamber have worked together on ways to support local businesses using one-time SB 1090 grant funding to support economic development. The Chamber conducted a survey of current businesses in early March to better understand the composition of businesses within Grover Beach and to identify the key issues business owners face. After the San Luis Obispo County’s shelter-at-home order took effect, a subsequent survey of the previous 154 respondents took place to understand COVID-19 impacts, garnering 77 responses.
Ultimately, a wide range of local businesses were represented in the surveys, from food service and retail stores to professional and technical services, including small businesses with under $100,000 in revenue and larger businesses with $500,000 or more of revenue. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, such as loss of revenue experienced by 80% of respondents, 84% of the businesses stated their intent to expand or remain the same over the course of the next one to three years. Prior to COVD-19, the most significant challenges facing businesses were access to affordable housing for employees and challenges with State regulations. For more detailed survey results, please see the Economic Development Update City Council Staff Report.
The survey results are now being utilized by the Chamber to expand its outreach to Grover Beach businesses to assist with recovery efforts. This includes providing education on relief resources and reopening guidelines, assistance with online sales and procedures, marketing campaigns to support local businesses, and hosting industry round-tables to keep businesses connected and help share best practices. The results of the surveys will also be used to create a business attraction strategy, focusing on businesses that would be most successful and complement existing Grover Beach businesses. The overall goal would be to create more living-wage jobs.
To further assist with business retention, the Grover Beach City Council will also be considering setting up a microgrant or loan program to support businesses in adjusting to the impacts of COVID-19 funded by $100,000 in unallocated one-time SB 1090 funds. The City Council will discuss this program further during the upcoming FY 2020-21 budget hearing on June 1. In addition, the City has already provided support through waiving late fees for utility and transient occupancy tax payments through May for both business and residential customers.