November 16, 2020 (Brunswick, ME)—Thanks to a collaboration between The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Boston, Norway Savings Bank, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) and Community Concepts, business owners impacted by COVID-19 received grant funding to help them survive the winter. The funds were distributed by FHLB Boston to Norway Savings as part of their Jobs for New England (JNE) Recovery Grant Programs. CEI and Community Concepts received $50,000 each to deploy through competitive application processes.
“We’re so impressed by the resilience of small businesses during this unprecedented time. The JNE grants will infuse capital to help them through the upcoming months,” said Dan Walsh, President of Norway Savings Bank.
The CEI Women’s Business Center allocated 100% of the funds received by CEI to restaurants in Portland that have been severely affected by the pandemic to “winterize” their business for the cold-weather months ahead. The grant awards ranged between $5,000 and $6,000 each. The nine grant recipients include: Anoche, Chaval, Cocktail Mary, Coffee By Design, eighteen twenty wines, LB Kitchen, Maine Oyster Company, Solo Italiano and Tu Casa.
“We are grateful for the opportunity given to us and other businesses in Portland by CEI,” said Ilma Lopez, co-owner of Chaval. “It will give us a fighting chance and make a difference through the winter. Thank you for looking out for small businesses in our city.” Chaval is building four greenhouses adjacent to their restaurant, which will allow small parties to dine together, outside, in their own heated “pod.”
CEI had four main criteria for selecting the restaurants the grant recipients from those who applied for this funding:
- The business owner worked with CEI in the past five years;
- the business is a restaurant, bar or coffee shop in Portland, Maine that had indoor seating prior to the onset of COVID-19; and
- applicant has experienced a 25% loss in revenue in the wake of the pandemic (since March 2020) as compared to 2019 revenue or other significant impacts of the pandemic.
“Businesses are using these funds to purchase outdoor dining pods, awnings, air purification systems, and other equipment or supplies necessary to survive the winter,” said Sarah Guerette, Director of the CEI Women’s Business Center. “It is no secret that restaurants are struggling. These funds will help them make necessary changes to keep customers and staff members safe until warmer weather returns and while they continue to navigate the COVID crisis.”
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. CEI envisions a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential. More at www.ceimaine.org.
About Norway Savings
Founded in 1866, Norway Savings Bank is a leading mutual banking and financial services company headquartered in Norway, Maine. As of June 30, 2020, Norway Savings Bank had $1.418 billion in total assets. Norway Savings Bank has 24 branch locations and operates divisions in asset management, personal banking and business banking. In 2016, Norway Savings Bank was honored as one of the Best Banks to Work For by American Banker and Best Companies Group as well as one of the Best Places to Work in Maine. In 2020, Norway was recognized with the “Best Wellness Employer – Gold Certification” by Wellness Workdays for the second year in a row. BauerFinancial has designated Norway Savings Bank the “Best of Bauer” for earning and maintaining its highest 5-star rating for 30 continuous years. For more information, visit www.norwaysavings.bank
About FHLB Boston
Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston is a cooperatively owned wholesale bank for housing finance in the six New England states. Its mission is to provide highly reliable wholesale funding and liquidity to its member financial institutions in New England. The Bank also develops and delivers competitively priced financial products, services, and expertise that support housing finance, community development, and economic growth, including programs targeted to lower-income households.