Rhinebeck, New York: Ten Rhinebeck businesses, including the fine arts cinema, a popular toy store, a women’s boutique, and an art gallery and studio, are among the first recipients of awards from Rhinebeck Responds’ Small Business Grants program.
“Rhinebeck Responds is helping to ensure that our small independent, owner-operated businesses, which are the economic heart of our wonderful community, make it through these very challenging times,” explains Tom LeGrand, Chair of the 7-person Small Grants Committee. “In making our decisions, we assess the contribution of both the business and its owner to our community,” says LeGrand.
The Rhinebeck Responds grants program, launched in June, is open to businesses located within the Hudson Valley town of Rhinebeck, New York. The program provides grants of up to $5000 apiece, based on applications and funds available. Rhinebeck businesses are facing mounting debt, plummeting earnings, and employee layoffs, and 72 percent say they have not gotten any rent relief from their landlords, according to a recent Rhinebeck Responds survey.
“We are honored to be included with the first group of grant recipients and very proud of the efforts of our fellow citizens to help our community recover from this crisis,” says Dede Leiber, Co-Owner, Upstate Films, Rhinebeck’s well known independent fine arts cinema which has been in operation for 48 years.
“Talk about perfect timing!” exclaimed Carla Olla, owner of Rhinebeck Yoga Center located in the heart of Rhinebeck Village. “I literally cried tears of joy, my heart swelled with a sense of relief and gratitude at the generosity of this gesture and I felt immense pride in being part of such a loving and supportive community.” She adds, “I had started to lose hope that we would be able to keep our doors open, and now I feel confident that we will be able to hang in there.”
The grants program is run by Rhinebeck Responds, a volunteer civic organization created to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, in partnership with the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley. It is funded with donations from individuals, businesses, and the Frost Memorial Fund.
“We were fortunate to have had two generous initial donations,” says Mark Fuerst, head of Rhinebeck Responds. “The needs are very great, and we are now striving to replenish these gifts with other donations.” Tax deductible donations can be made via the Community Foundations. Click here.
The first donation came from Maya Kaimal Foods, a homemade Indian cuisine company headquartered in Rhinebeck. “Many landlords and residents in Rhinebeck talk about loving our unique owner-operated stores,” explains Maya Kaimal, an award-winning cookbook author. “But,” she adds, “we believe now is the time to put words into action. Rent relief and sharing the burden of the disaster that has impacted our small business owners is the responsibility of all of us.”
The second pilot donation came from businessman Michael Clark, who explains, “I became a Rhinebeck resident last year and instantly fell in love with the spirit of the town. In this crisis there is opportunity to help.” He adds, “Many of us have had helping hands, good fortune and it’s time to pay it forward. Now, more than ever, we need to step up and realize we are all in this together.”
Clark and his business partner Greg Perlman have set up another fund that is offering interest free loans up to $25,000 to Rhinebeck businesses. For details, click here.
Rhinebeck Responds is working closely with the Village and Town governments. “It goes without saying that we have never seen or been through anything like this COVID-19 pandemic experience,” says Rhinebeck Village Mayor Gary Bassett. “The village’s lifestyle and vibrant street scene has been hit hard,” but, he adds, “the grant and no interest loan programs will help the merchants and bring the Village back.”
For grant applications and details about the program, go to Rhinebeck Responds website: http://www.rhinebeckresponds.org.
Additional Quotes from Small Business Grantees:
“Receiving this grant could not come at a better time as it will help me catch up on my rent. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders , I can now concentrate on working to move the business forward. Thank you so much. I am forever grateful!”
Elena Rose, Owner
Land of Oz Toys
“Thank you all so much. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and feel so much relief with the generosity of this support! I’m not quite sure how to thank all the people responsible who have made it all possible.”
Betsy Jacaruso, Owner
Betsy Jacaruso Studio & Gallery
Dear Rhinebeck Responds,
Talk about perfect timing! On the very day that I found out that Rhinebeck Yoga Center will not be included in phase 4 openings, and that there is no projected date for us to re-open, I also received an email from Rhinebeck Responds stating that we are among the businesses that will be receiving a grant to help pay our bills. I literally cried tears of joy, my heart swelled with a sense of relief and gratitude at the generosity of this gesture and I felt immense pride in being part of such a loving and supportive community. I had started to lose hope that we would be able to keep our doors open, and now I feel confident that we will be able to hang in there. Thank you to the Rhinebeck Responds committee and to all of those who have worked to make this to happen.
Carla Olla, Owner
Rhinebeck Yoga Center
I’m honored and deeply appreciative of not only the very generous grant, but also of the kind words in the letter of acceptance. They are both equally valuable to me. Thank you and the committee so very much.
Kerry Lee Zeff, Owner
I want to extend a huge thank you to the generous business owners who donated to the small business grant and to all of the people involved in the program. I realize that there is an enormous amount of time and effort that goes into this. The Rhinebeck Responds grant that Breathe Studio received is an unexpected boost when we needed it the most.
Rhinebeck Responds is helping to keep Rhinebeck’s charming village and its small businesses intact through this pandemic. We need to help each other now more than ever and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the generosity shown during this time. Breathe donates to many local events and fundraisers and we have contributed to support our local businesses whenever and however we can. Breathe will continue to give back to our community and we will not forget how our community helped to keep us afloat during these difficult times.
Thank you again. This means so much to us and we will use the grant money to keep Breathe on the Rhinebeck Village map for years to come.
Nicole McGrath, Owner
Upstate Films thanks Rhinebeck Responds and the Frost Memorial Fund. We are honored to be included with the first group of grant recipients and very proud of the efforts of our fellow citizens to help our community recover from this crisis.
Dede Leiber, Co-Owner
I would like to thank the committee for helping myself as well as the other
small business owners. These past few months have been very challenging and their generous grant will help get my business back on track.
Thank you so much for all of your help.
Anne Ballantine, Owner
Anne Ballantine Acupuncture
Thank you so much for awarding us this grant. Greatly appreciated and needed, as we all strive for a stronger more prosperous Rhinebeck community
Darryl Gamble and Ed Coviello