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Businesses rallied together in Owatonna in support of each other through the JumpStart program. Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (OACCT) president and CEO Brad Meier said $94,000 was raised and donated to 45 local small businesses to "just a little bit to help them through." In-kind donations added to the effort with health-related items.

"The business community really rallied. I think of a one-of-a-kind deal where you have private businesses supporting private for-profit businesses. You don't see that very often in a charitable kind of way. That program was really great," Meier commented.

OACCT conducted a survey of businesses and found 57-percent used at least some of the money on rent and general expenses. Over 50-percent purchased sanitizers, sneeze guards or other protective items. About a third also used some of the money on marketing or product. See more results of the survey here. The chamber thanks Lane Versteeg for creating the survey and assembling results.

One business commented through the survey, "The JumpStart program shows area small businesses that our community does care and that even the smallest amounts of assistance and advice helps us to continue working on staying in business and hopefully weathering the unprecedented events we are all experiencing."

Another response said, "I feel so humbled by and grateful to each and every business and community member who supported JumpStart Owatonna. To benefit from the support of all of these individuals makes me so proud to work in Owatonna. It truly demonstrates that 'we are all in this together'."

The chamber announced in their Tuesday Talk e-newsletter that small business grants of $10k will open for applications on August 31. Get full program details here. Applicants will have until September 21 to file for a grant.

Meier said, "We miss the fair," while speaking at the chamber's Business After Hours event in the beer garden on the fairgrounds Friday, August 21. "We appreciate the team out here at the fair. their effort in putting on the food event this weekend (August 21-23). They're doing the best they can in a tough situation."




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