A vital Tallmadge business that performed well during the pandemic donated $ 15,000 to help other local establishments that weren’t so lucky.
Speelman Electric recently donated this money in addition to Tallmadge Grow Inc.’s $ 50,000 COVID-19 Small Business Relief Program, which has been made available to food and restaurant, personal service and healthcare businesses. beauty products from the town and the township of Tallmadge / Brimfield. economic development district.
âThese companies are our neighbors and our customers. We work with them all the time, so it was nice to be able to do something,â said Christeen Speelman-Parsons, CEO.
Tallmadge Grow, the town’s community improvement company, initially donated $ 50,000 to Summit County’s COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grants Program, but the money was unexpectedly returned afterwards. that the county received funding from the CARES Act.
After:CIC and chamber offer small business grants of $ 5,000
“We got this money back and [Tallmadge Grow’s] The attitude was to see if we can put it back into the community, given that we never planned to get this money back, âsaid Director of Economic Development and Secretary of Tallmadge Grow, Matt Springer.
In partnership with the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce, Tallmadge Grow has developed its own grant program which can offer up to $ 5,000 to eligible applicants.
As a businessman and resident of Tallmadge, Speelman-Parsons was invited to serve on the grants committee.
âThere were so many people who applied, but they didn’t have enough to give everyone the $ 5,000. We had a discussion about it here and we all felt we had the capacity to donate, and we wanted to help our community, âshe mentioned.
Speelman-Parsons explained that although revenues are declining, Speelman Electric has been able to stay open, unlike many other Tallmadge businesses, and has managed to adapt to continue working safely.
âThe revenues are down and it’s been a struggle, but we were lucky. We certainly weren’t hurt like the travel and food industries,â she said.
Thanks to Speelman’s donation, all 13 applicants have received the maximum amount and will use the money in a variety of ways to keep their doors open and their employees working.
Carol Martin Salon Spa will use this money to complete inventory orders, payroll and storage for their new âBeautique,â ââso the salon doesn’t just rely on services to generate revenue.
âWe’re busy, but we can’t do the numbers we used to do,â said co-owner Kelsey Frimel. âI would say, luckily, we’ve done enough to keep us afloat, but there have been close calls asking if we’re going to do it in two or three weeks. The grants help keep us on our feet, but we hope that the National Cosmetology Council will lift some of its directives. ”
Another grant recipient, White Swan Dry Cleaners, will also use this money to diversify its income.
Owner Jim Croyle explained that the dry cleaning industry as a whole is down about 20% due to the trend for professionals to adopt a more casual dress code, but widespread work from home has brought it down. White Swan’s business by 45% throughout 2020, although it is considered a core business.
âWe had 800 pickup and door-to-door customers who each week had five white shirts, five ties and five dress pants. This routine has been completely interrupted and they no longer need us. -Call customers, âCroyle said.
However, the pandemic has also brought a potential new activity: washing, drying and folding services.
âIt’s probably only 5% of our business right now, but it was non-existent six months ago,â Croyle said. “That’s why it’s so fast. It didn’t come out of nowhere on us and people started calling to see if we were doing this.”
White Swan will now use the $ 5,000 to revamp its website to include the new service, as well as to allow customers to track their orders and request services.
Lecat’s Ventriliscope, which makes medical training devices invented by NEOMED professor Dr. Paul Lecat, will use that money to make up for bills that were suspended as the company struggled with sales.
âOur typical end users are educators in medical schools and teaching universities, and they don’t do in-person learning anymore, so that left us in the air,â said Cheryl Gall, director of operations . âWe also had a lot of trade shows in the medical simulation world, and these were no longer available, it was a bit like hitting a brick wall, although we managed to sell some throughout. the pandemic.
The company was able to adapt its devices to work in a distance learning environment, and some schools have purchased the devices with funding from the CARES Act.
Gall said she learned they received the grant from Tallmadge while on the phone with COO Christobal Hernandez.
“I said, ‘Stop talking. I have something to tell you “and he said,” It better be good news. âI said ‘Oh it is,’â said Gall. “I was very surprised and very happy because we have a great group of employees who made it all possible.”
Harmonize Studios, which offers a variety of private music lessons and opened just before the start of the pandemic, will use the money for essentials like rent and utilities, owner Julie Bozic said. She also plans to use this money to help market her studio and grow the student base.
âWe had to be virtual for about 7 or 8 months and the instructors had to leave Zoom. We only had 12 students during that time, so it slowly grew and found different ways to do this work, âshe said.
The studio will celebrate its second anniversary on Saturday with staggered performances.
Other recipients include Rub my Belly Dog Spa, Sunny Nails, Studio West Salon, Oscar’s Place, Harmonize Studios, Linda’s Kitchen, Danny Boys and Firehouse, Sammie’s Bar and Grill, Delanie’s Gastro Bar, and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, all of whom have received the checks. in person from Mayor David Kline, Tallmadge Grow Treasurer Don Pavlik and Chamber of Commerce President Meghan Thompson.
âThey were so sincere, extremely happy and grateful,â Kline said. “They know we care about them and that helps them stay in business.”
Journalist Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, [email protected] or on Twitter @kristaKanoABJ.