Microloans help Moline businesses weather pandemic storm

Nitta Jones can keep teaching kids to dance. Dr. Geri Kruckenberg can keep helping patients. Moline restaurants can keep serving lunch specials.

These are some of the results of a new COVID-19 relief program that has helped dozens of Moline businesses keep the doors open over the past several months.

The COVID-19 Micro Business Forgivable Loan Program provides Moline businesses with funding to help them survive and succeed through the pandemic era. The city funds the program and will seek reimbursement from the federal government. 

In the latest round of loans, 25 Moline businesses each received up to $10,000 to help pay their bills and keep their businesses operating. This marks the fifth round of COVID-related loans, provided through various funding sources, that have helped Moline businesses rebound. 

The microloans are expected to be funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, said K.J. Whitley, Moline’s community development program manager.

“A lot of businesses would be forced to close their doors (if they didn’t get this money),” added Ms. Whitley. “We want them to stay open.”

The businesses that received microloans most often used the money to pay employees and buy inventory to keep attracting customers.

“We know that our micro-businesses need help during this recovery and we are happy to have found a way to get that to them,” Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati said in a statement. “We hope that they will take advantage of this program immediately to prevent any further losses and keep our economy moving in the right direction.”

Among the businesses that received microloan help is Pink Dynamic Dolls, a dance troupe and company that teaches different genres of dance to young people ages 4-17.

Members of the Pink Dynamic Dolls limber up before a dance class Nov. 16 in the dance studio’s downtown Moline building.

“COVID really messed things up for some people,” said Ms. Jones, owner of the Pink Dynamic Dolls, located at 1711 Fifth Ave., Moline. “We had some parents say they couldn’t afford (to keep sending their children to dance lessons.)”

The microloan money has helped pay the $75-per-student monthly dance lessons, and the rent for the dance studio in downtown Moline, Ms. Jones added.

Another Moline business to receive help is Kruckenberg Chiropractic, located at 1715 Fifth Ave. Dr. Kruckenberg said she just received the $10,000 microloan check in mid-November and plans to use it to assist with marketing projects to keep and attract customers to her business.

“I just got the check a few days ago. … It’s definitely going to help with our business,” she added.

According to the City of Moline, 23 other businesses also have been selected to receive microloan help in the latest round include: R&D Towing Services; Maria’s Mexican Restaurant; Mas Wireless; Ralph A. Dressler; Salon MXIX; Yore Pets Barber; Academy for the Performing Arts; Senor Julio’s; Selective Seconds Consignment; Fetography Portraits; Koujha Corp.; GIT Improve; Jose’s Tire; Chimies Taco Bar; Living Connected; Best Inn; U Save Mart; Moline Oil; Rebellion Brew Haus; Rosy’s Watering Hole; JRW Electrical Enterprises; Morrison Resale Consignment Shop; and AW Food & Liquor.

The city plans to award more micro business loans in the new year. For more information on future loans, contact: [email protected] or visit the city’s website at www.moline.il.us.

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