DUNCAN Okla. (TNN) - Friday, 131 Stephens County businesses received checks of up to $5,000 to help them keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic.
The checks from the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation ranged from $600 to $5,000 each.
"This situation with this check today, I appreciate this group because they took us to heart and they helped us out. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Tim Woodson, a self-employed pilot car driver.
"This is just amazing. I’m tickled to death I was awarded the grant and thankful to our community for providing this,” said Gay McCormick, Owner of Jonny’s in Duncan.
"For a small business like ours, we’re not a big corporation, we’re a small mom and pop shop so these funds are quite helpful,” said Ryan Bell, owner of Cotton Blossom Winery in Marlow.
The purpose of the checks was to ensure Stephens County businesses can stay up and running through some tough times.
"What we have dumped into Stephens County in the last month is about $600,000. Between what we did with the food bank and what we’re doing with the business community. We’re trying to make an impact. Those are dollars that are not sales tax dollars, those are dollars we’ve been able to collect and hold on behalf of DAEDF and what we’ve been able to do over these years,” said Lyle Roggow, President of the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation.
That money was given to the businesses with a few conditions. Among those, they have to use it for the purposes they said they would on their applications. For most, that means keeping the lights on.
"For our normal bills, power bills, groceries, car payments, things like that. It’s going to really be a blessing,” said Woodson.
"Now I know I can pay more rent, more utilities, I have health insurance for my employees, it helps for that. The summer months are coming up and our utility bill is astronomical,” said McCormick.
“We’re going to use this for getting inventory built back up and all that fun stuff for hopefully a great summer ahead of us,” said Bell.
In total, about 75-percent of the money stayed within Duncan while the rest was distributed to businesses in the surrounding areas like Marlow, Bray and Comanche.