The Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority will be awarding $1.3 million to 92 restaurants, retailers, salons, cafes and entertainment venues in Downtown Royal Oak through the Rebound Royal Oak Small Business Assistance Program. This grant program was established to help eligible businesses, with no more than 50 employees, in the Downtown Development District impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The disbursement of the grant funds and the methodology for awarding the funds was approved at the DDA Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
All eligible applicants that applied, 92 in total, will receive a grant, with amounts ranging from $4,000 (minimum award) to $32,000 (maximum award). The formula for calculating the totals awarded to eligible businesses was based on four factors:
Square footage was weighted at 60 percent of the award total.
Rent was weighted at 30 percent of the award total.
Average monthly payroll hours were weighted at 10 percent of the award total.
The length of time a business has been in operation in Downtown Royal Oak under current ownership was also taken into account; a longevity bonus provided qualifying businesses with $500 for every additional five years they have been in the Downtown Development District beyond 10 years.
In order to adhere to anonymity during the review process, the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority Business Marketing Committee used a blind method to evaluate all applications. The DDA staff redacted names, contact information, addresses, parcel identification numbers, and any attachments included with the application. Identities were assigned a computer-generated six-digit code to protect the privacy of the applicants.
The grant funds will be disbursed to awardees in two to three payments. Businesses currently permitted to operate will immediately receive 50 percent of their grant award. Businesses currently closed will immediately receive 25 percent of their grant award, and an additional 25 percent when they are permitted to open. Businesses can expect to receive their first installment the week of June 15, 2020. The second or third payment will be disbursed within four to six weeks after that. Awardees will be required to use the grant for business-related expenses, including payroll, rent or other relevant activities.
In total, the Downtown Development Authority received 109 applications. Seventeen small businesses were disqualified because they did not fall within the Downtown Development District or were not an eligible business type. Eligible businesses included: restaurants, cafes, retailers, salons and entertainment venues.