Candidate Healey visits Easthampton businesses helped by grant program

View Photo Gallery
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, left, talks with Luthier's Guitar Co-op co-owner Steven Baer, seated, during a tour Friday of small businesses in Easthampton with, from left, Rep. Dan Carey, Easthampton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Moe Belliveau and Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey talks with media before a tour of small businesses in Easthampton with, from left, Rep. Dan Carey (D-Easthampton), Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Moe Belliveau and Mayor LaChapelle on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Twenty Easthampton businesses received funding from the Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program for costs during the pandemic. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Rep. Dan Carey (D-Easthampton), left, talks with Oxbow Tattoo co-owner Steve Sanderson, right, during a tour of small businesses in Easthampton with Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, second from left, and Attorney General Maura Healey on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Twenty Easthampton businesses received funding from the Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program for costs during the pandemic. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, left, walks up Cottage Street on Friday with gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Attorney General Maura Healey talks with Lucky Nails salon owner Thom Lieu during a tour of small businesses in Easthampton on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey talks with media before a tour of small businesses in Easthampton with Rep. Dan Carey (D-Easthampton), in background, and others on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Twenty Easthampton businesses received funding from the Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program for costs during the pandemic. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • After a visit from Attorney General Maura Healey on her tour of small businesses in Easthampton on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, Oxbow Tattoo co-owner Steve Sanderson talks about challenges his business had during the pandemic. Twenty Easthampton businesses received funding from the Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program for costs during the pandemic. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • After a visit from Attorney General Maura Healey on her tour of small businesses in Easthampton on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, Oxbow Tattoo co-owner Sarah Tyrell talks about challenges her business had during the pandemic. Twenty Easthampton businesses received funding from the Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program for costs during the pandemic. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey poses for photo in front of the Easthampton Municipal Building before a tour of small businesses in the city on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 2/12/2022 7:02:15 AM
Modified: 2/12/2022 7:00:22 AM

EASTHAMPTON — At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses in the city like Luthier’s Co-Op struggled to stay afloat.

Without any income, the lockdown of nonessential businesses pushed the combination musical instrument shop, performance venue and bar deeper and deeper into debt and further behind on rent bills, said Steven Baer, co-owner of the Cottage Street business. Even when the business reopened in August 2021, the customers were not flowing in.

“I was selling things just to pay bills,” Baer said. “It was a rough year and a half.”

Now, he says the business is on much firmer footing thanks, in part, to funding from Attorney General Maura Healey’s Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program, which was designed to help businesses to pay for, among other things, rent, utility and personal protective equipment costs during the pandemic.

The city was awarded a $30,000 grant in 2020 from Healey’s office and Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle invited the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce to be the program administrator. The grant came in conjunction with other gifts, including $10,000 from Todd Barron and Lindsay Barron LaBonte, co-managers of Applied Mortgage. An additional donation was made by Suite3 of Easthampton, which allowed the 31 qualified small business applicants to receive individual grants of up to $1,500, for a total of $43,132.

With the grant money, Baer said Luthier’s is getting back to a point of sustainability and not just paying overdraft and late fees.

“I feel very confident moving forward that things are gonna bounce back,” he said.

On Friday morning, Healey stopped by the city to check in on businesses like Luthier’s to hear how the pandemic has impacted them in an effort to better develop ways to rebuild the state’s economy. The tour started at the city’s Municipal Building parking area, then turned down Cottage Street to stop by small businesses Lucky Nails, Luthier’s Co-Op and Oxbow Tattoo. Healey was joined by LaChapelle, Moe Belliveau, executive director of the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce, and state Rep. Dan Carey, D-Easthampton.

“The pandemic has been devastating for small businesses across Massachusetts and I’ve made it a point over the past couple of years to meet with them,” Healey said. “I continue to be inspired by the resiliency of our small business owners and look forward to being in Easthampton to continue these important conversations. I want our communities to know that my office is here to provide resources and support them in any way we can.”

Healey is one of three gubernatorial Democratic candidates, along with state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, and Danielle Allen, a professor at Harvard University.

The state grant program also helped small businesses fund the purchase of equipment and supplies that would allow them to continue to operate their businesses according to state-required health and safety standards.

Oxbow Tattoo, for example, installed plexiglass partitions and a free-standing air circulation unit, said Steve Sanderson, co-owner of the tattoo parlor. The business also changed to appointment-only scheduling and now screens all of their customers. The funding helped because, as with most businesses, adhering to the new health and safety standards meant added costs during a phase of less revenue, said Sanderson.

Following her tour through Easthampton, Healey met with Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia and Holyoke’s Director of Planning and Economic Development Aaron Vega at Holyoke City Hall for a tour of local small businesses, including EforALL Holyoke. Healey was also scheduled to visit Hope for Holyoke Peer Recovery Center, a recovery support center run by the Gándara Mental Health Center, a grantee of her office’s Promoting Cultural Humility in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment grant program, aimed at promoting equity in treatment programs and recovery services in Massachusetts.

Holyoke also received funding from the Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism


Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy