Albany approves relief that will help the city’s micro-businesses rebuild

ALBANY, Ga. – “I tell my vendors I walk out on faith every morning when I walk out my home and I walk through these doors, I walk in here on faith that God’s going to take care of us this day.”

Owner of G&M Antiques and Thrift, Glenda Veteto rents out space in her store to 47 vendors. These vendors sell antiques, furniture, clothes; you can find everything and anything at G&M.

But since COVID-19 hit Albany, her vendors haven’t been selling like they use to.

COVID-19 crippled the shop.

“They depend on the income from their sales. And I depend on their rent income.”

Vendors that rely on G&M have had to resort to on selling over the internet, which Lorrie Dubiansky says takes away from the magic that is G&M and has contributed to lower sales.

“You’re able to get the information going back and forth with people, but you cant pick it up and flip it over and look at it so you know things like that are kind of lost in that internet sales,” she says.

To help her vendors, Veteto has had to wave rent fees, but she is still responsible for her own rent, utilities and paying her employees.

“It’s put me back a good about 10,000 if not more, I’ve  struggled to build back up.”

Tuesday, The City of Albany approved a small business relief program and its funding totals to $700,000.

“This is specifically going to be for small businesses, micro-businesses and what that is aimed at is trying to help them restart after the COVID crisis shutdown and get them back up on their feet, and more importantly to have them be able to protect themselves, protect their employees if they have any and most importantly protect their customers,” says ward 6 commissioner, Demetrius Young.

Once approved, a small business can receive anywhere from $2,500 TO $10,000 in relief.

Relief, that couldn’t come soon enough for some.

“That would help me so much, that would relieve me so much, I could the back rent that I have to pay, I could get everything else back caught up that I’ve been struggling with,” says Veteto.

Commissioner Young says that helping the small business community rebuild is vital for the entire community.

“That’s what the most important thing is, it’s to make sure those businesses stay up and stay running so that their employees who are citizens of Albany Georgia can also recover and can financially be made whole through this crisis.”

Next week the city will be hosting webinars to show small business owners how to apply for this funding, more information on when the webinars take place can be found on the city’s website.