Athens County Small Business Relief Fund Awards Over $250,000 in Business Grants

In October, the Athens County Board of Commissioners appropriated a portion of its CARES Act funding to a Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) for the purpose of alleviating businesses of economic burdens resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic business closures. As of December 18th, a total of $256,092.93 has been awarded to 30 Athens County businesses for expenses that were either related to costs of interruptions due to the state mandated closures, or those that faced uncertainly of payment due to the pandemic.

The Athens County Small Business Relief Program was made possible thanks to the Athens County Commissioners, Auditor Jill Thompson’s Office, and several community partners that came together to advocate for funding. “The Board of Commissioners was glad they were able to share their allocation with local businesses,” said Board President Lenny Eliason. “Being able to assist some of the businesses affected by this pandemic has been a priority for the board. We appreciate the help we received from the Auditor’s office and the Athens County Economic Development Council to make this effort possible.” Auditor Thompson shared, “It was a pleasure to be part of a team that put our local businesses first and made providing this relief a priority.”

The SBRF was administered by the Athens County Economic Development Council with support from the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Ohio University Small Business Development Center, and the Area 14 Workforce Development Board. “Athens’ small businesses make up the fabric of our community and this coalition of partners will continue to advocate for programs that support them through this challenging economic landscape,” said ACEDC Executive Director Mollie Fitzgerald.

Eligible expenses under the SBRF included payroll, lease or mortgage assistance, operational expenses such as utility payments, unemployment costs, and PPE costs related to compliance with Responsible Restart Ohio. “This year has been filled with unprecedented uncertainty and economic anxiety for local small businesses,” said Jonathan Bernard, Owner of Ohio Valley Running Company Owner. “We had been stressing about how to make it work after an extremely slow fall, and the funding helped us move some pieces around to get us over the hump.”

Additional funding has not been awarded to this program, but businesses are encouraged to stay in touch with the ACEDC or Chamber offices for updates.

About the ACEDC: The Athens County Economic Development Council (ACEDC) is a champion of business in Southeast Ohio. The ACEDC is committed to increasing economic opportunity in Athens County by encouraging entrepreneurship, recruiting new businesses, and helping existing businesses grow and expand. Contact: