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CARMEL — A new grant program in Hamilton County is helping local businesses move forward and reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hamilton County Stabilization Fund for Small Businesses is helping small businesses forced to close during the pandemic.
Paul Braun, the owner of Purse Strings in Clay Terrace, applied for a grant and is hoping to get it.
He reopened his store the day Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb allowed it.
"I think I was the only one open in the mall," Braun said.
Before the pandemic, he says the store was doing well. Now he is worried about paying rent and his employees.
Because his store at The Fashion mall is reopening, he is able to bring back at least two furloughed employees, but since he reopened he has been the only one working.
"That's why I re-opened as soon as I could to start getting things paid, and luckily I have not had payroll yet because I have not had any employees here yet," Braun said.
He says getting the grant would make a big difference.
"You don't want to walk around the town Square in Noblesville or up and down Main Street in Carmel and start to see those little unique store fronts and businesses start to close, because that is what's going to start happening here real soon," Hamilton County Councilman Fred Glynn said.
Braun says he has also applied for the paycheck protection program loan and has not received it.
Small businesses in Hamilton County can apply for up to $10,000 in grant money to use for things like rent, utilities or insurance.
The deadline to apply for the grant is May 22. Payments will be sent no later than June 9.
About 80 businesses have applied, but many are automatically disqualified because they did not have to close during the pandemic.
To apply for the grant or learn more information, click here.