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COOLIDGE — At the end of last month, the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce was awarded a grant in order to help small businesses in the area.

The chamber opened the application process on Friday.

The funding is primarily meant to help businesses with advertising and “to accelerate local economic recovery” as per the application’s wording. Businesses can be reimbursed for any relevant spending they’ve done since Dec. 7. Chamber Executive Director Lynn Parsons said that she hoped that businesses would spend the money locally on area marketing companies.

“I know businesses are struggling,” Parsons said. “Some have asked me to personally help them through the application process.”

Parsons mentioned that social media has become one of the most effective ways to market during the pandemic, even for local business, with so many workers homebound.

The maximum amount individual businesses can apply for is $5,000. Eligible businesses must have a Coolidge address and must have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chamber members get preference on the applications but the chamber will approve applications until the money runs out.

In addition to marketing, businesses can use money for personal protective equipment or expanding services for COVID-19 reasons, such as installing plexiglass separators or expanding outdoor dining areas.

Local businesses also once again will have access to federal Paycheck Protection Program money, which re-opened for First and Second Draw applications on Jan. 11 and Jan. 13, respectively.

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Aaron Dorman is a reporter covering Coolidge and the surrounding area. He can be reached at adorman@pinalcentral.com.