Donations offer some relief for town businesses

Community members are banding together to offer financial help to Coupeville small businesses facing finanical losses due to COVID-19.

Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, or CHWA, launched a campaign to collect donations from the community for its business members, with a goal of raising $20,000.

By Friday, nearly $12,000 was raised, and checks of $564 each were distributed to 21 of 42 Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association members, said Executive Director Vickie Chambers.

“We’re just so proud of the fact that a little community like ours is able to raise that kind of money.”

There is no expectation of paying back the grant money, she said, and it is awarded based on need.

Association President Kathy Baxter said CHWA will continue raising funds for business members as long as the donations keep coming in.

She pointed out that, come next month, businesses won’t be getting rent or utilities relief.

“The reality of the economic impact of this is going to hit harder in June,” Baxter said.

Most association members are restaurants or retail, meaning these businesses face new challenges once they are allowed to reopen.

“It’s going to cost money to retrofit their stores to be able to serve customers in a different way,” Baxter said.

For example, she said owners of Lavender Wind and Toby’s Tavern have already made changes. The lavender-themed store is installing a Dutch door to serve people from a window, and the popular pub is spending money to reopen with half as many seats.

n To donate to Coupeville Historic Waterfront Assoc-iation’s grant program, visit their website, coupevillehistoricwaterfront.com, or mail in checks to P.O. Box 121, Coupeville, WA 98239. The association is also providing microloans of up to $5,000 with zero percent interest for the first 18 months.

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