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Small Business Recovery Grant Program Helps Rhode Island Business Owners

The Misquamicut Business Association
Westerly, Rhode Island is a small coastal community in the East with a population of around 20,000 people. Like many communities along the east coast recently, they experienced their share of devastation. Several beaches were left almost unrecognizable following the wind and water damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Amazingly, just 48 hours after the hurricane, a citizens group from one of those beach communities, Misquamicut, met with the chamber of commerce to create a Small Business Recovery Grant program to help local businesses and enable them to open their doors for business in the spring. The "Bring Back The Beach" program is well under way initiating several fund-raising events to generate money for the grants.

Many businesses along the coastal Atlantic Avenue were destroyed by the hurricane. Atlantic Avenue is the main road along the beach, and some areas of the road were covered with 6 feet of sand. The sand literally entered businesses, and homes, and in one reported incident pushed a hotel patio right through the building. Some businesses just disappeared altogether.

Local residents and businesses recognize the importance of having businesses open to serve both its residents and visitors. The response from the community has been impressive. Local restaurants are donating a day's profits, artists are contributing artwork for silent auctions, and others are selling T-shirts. Other fundraisers are being put on by the Westerly Chamber of Commerce. All of the proceeds will go toward grants to help flooded businesses get back up and running.

The Small Business Grant Recovery Program has already been a success in this tight-knit community, bringing folks out from everywhere to help "Bring Back The Beach."

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