Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) announced this week that it had distributed $112,500 in Retail Revitalization Grants to downtown businesses.

The money came from DGI, the Guilford Merchants Association and the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund, and grants of $1,500 were awarded to 75 retail establishments.

Downtown Greensboro has been hit particularly hard by 2020. First came the coronavirus lockdowns that shuttered many businesses for months, and then – just when Gov. Roy Cooper was allowing businesses to reopen – the downtown was hit with two nights of riots on May 30 and May 31 where downtown businesses were vandalized and looted.

DGI President Zack Matheny said in a press release, “I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to know we have helped so many small business owners in some way. This pandemic had knocked our downtown businesses down, but with the help of this grant program, it hasn’t knocked them out.”

The $1,500 grants were awarded for new business plan initiatives, inventory growth, marketing, rent assistance, job retention and other related business expenses.

Guilford Merchants Association President Mark Prince said, “GMA was proud to partner with DGI to provide much needed funds to downtown business owners that have been significantly impacted. We hope it relieved some of the financial stress to keep their businesses open as we transition through this pandemic.”

Storefront retail businesses that sell goods or provide a service in the downtown Greensboro Business Investment District in operation prior to Jan. 1, 2020 were eligible to apply for a grant.

DGI and GMA provided a total of $55,000 of the Retail Revitalization Grant funding. The United Way of Greater Greensboro, the City of Greensboro and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro combined contributed $24,000 in funding.

Funding was also provided by a GoFundMe campaign. The Deuterman Law Group contributed $5,000, the Downtown Residents Association $2,500, the Jewish Foundation $1,500 and the Rotary Club of Greensboro $1,000.