The Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism announced the first recipients of grants from the Jump Start Owatonna program this week. Kleckers Kreations, Limberg Productions, Owatonna Fitness Center (owner Reagan West pictured) and the Music Space of Owatonna receive grant dollars according to the Tuesday Talk e-newsletter. In addition, Sparetime Entertainment and the Steele County History Center receive in-kind donations.

Chamber president Brad Meier told KRFO during a radiothon last week, "Jump start Owatonna is an initiative locally here to support our small business that were most affected by the pandemic."

"This will be grant dollars, some in-kind, and we're also inviting businesses in the community to look at their local spending and see if there is some ways they can increase that as well."

Meier says the grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, saying that fundraising efforts are ongoing.

In Tuesday Talk, Meier made a pitch for businesses to fully open, "Minnesota businesses - especially small businesses like Sollid Studios, Sparetime Entertainment and Old Town Bagels are already operating safely and have taken the necessary safety precautions with detailed, effective preparedness plans in place. The understand the public health risks associated with COVID-19 and want to do their part to help slow the spread."

He goes on to say, "Knowing when business can fully reopen or increase customer capacity on a specific date would allow all businesses to prepare for more employees to returns and to make customers aware of new best practices to promote a safe environment."

Other stories from the Tuesday Talk newsletter:

  • $10,000 advances from the Small Business Administration are back.
  • 'Explore MN' will host a webinar on using Google.
  • Virtual Business After Hours will resume in July.