Jacksonville mayor announces $26 million for small business relief grant program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Financial relief is on the way for local businesses. On Thursday, Mayor Lenny Curry says another $26 million will be going towards the Vystar small business relief grant program.

Money that many small businesses desperately need to stay afloat.

Mark McKenzie, owner of Central Bark Jacksonville, says, “With a 50% reduction in business the money is not coming in so the only way to stay open is to look for help.”

And while McKenzie’s able to keep his doors open -this pandemic has been anything but easy on his business.

“We have zero boarding so that’s 33% of my business,” says McKenzie.

Unfortunately, he’s just one of thousands struggling to stay afloat.

JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis says, “It’s very disheartening for me to listen to many of our small mom and pops who have really never seen anything like this before in their career.”

Business owners are applying for any grant and loan out there to try and keep their doors open.

McKenzie applied for all of them and so far was lucky to get a $1000 grant and $1500 line of credit through Vystar’s program.

“It’s money I can put towards my rent, towards electricity, towards water bills. Things like that. It just takes a little pressure off the money that’s not coming in,” says McKenzie.

But he says the fear of not being able to make it is still there, as for so many other small businesses.

That’s why Davis is eager to carefully get the city back open.

“As a citizen I’m going to focus on how I can spend my money on our local small businesses to make sure they’re successful and they can make a full recovery.”

McKenzie says, “Every penny, every dollar helps.” ​

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