Royse City, TX Acted Swiftly with Its Disaster Relief Fund Program During the COVID-19 Pandemic
22 Mar 2021
When the start of the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses, Mayor Janet Nichol issued a disaster declaration on March 24, 2020. By April 6, 2020, the Royse City Community Development Corporation (CDC) Disaster Relief Fund Program (DRFP) was implemented and active to grant business owners cash flow to fund payroll in order to reduce unemployment.
“We wanted to get help to business owners as quickly as possible,” said then mayor and current commissioner, Janet Nichol. “Conversations between myself, the city manager, the CDC director, and the city attorney moved swiftly. The CDC director and board met and agreed on the process. The city council then met and they all agreed 100 percent to move forward. I was so excited to start rolling out checks, as we all were.”
“I was so honored to be a part of this program; blessed by this community that we could make it happen,” continued Nichol. “We have a strong relationship with our businesses, all throughout Royse City. We are thankful to all our entities that made this happen. I believe we are a blessed city because of acts of giving and kindness. The businesses were so grateful. II believe it gave them hope that together we could get through the coming months.”
Heather Todish, owner of Anchored Bliss Boutique, was one such businessperson. Her store which specializes in trendy clothing, shoes, accessories, and gifts relied on heavy foot traffic.
“I can't even articulate how helpful the Disaster Relief Fund Program was to us during the most challenging time — in our lifetime — of being a small business owner,” said Todish. “We had to adapt from having a high foot-traffic storefront to completely shutting our doors. We had to adapt quickly by going fully online, doing live sales on social media, and offering local delivery. That took a lot of staff to make all of the components come together. With the help of the DRFP, we were able to keep our staff on board, plus hire some additional part-time employees. I wouldn't have been able to fund the payroll during the shutdown without the program.”
“We couldn't live in a more wonderful, supportive community than Royse City, Texas and its surrounding areas,” said Todish. “I've always believed we have the most wonderful customers, but they blew my mind through all of this. It humbles me so much and makes me teary-eyed when I reflect on the outpouring of love we as small businesses receive here. Our customers showed up for us and supported us through the entire pandemic. We received sweet, encouraging handwritten notes left for us on the doors of customers we were delivering to. We would get uplifting comments and interactions on social media when we were on live videos. We had people praying for us, rooting for us, and sending us all the good vibes. Our online sales were abundant and social media shares were at an all time high.”
This civic spirit was demonstrated by fellow business owners as well. Charles Houk, Executive Director of Royse City CDC, said they had a half dozen businesses that applied and qualified for the DRFP, but left the forgivable loans to help other businesses that needed it more.
“The spirit the program brought to our community was amazing,” said Nichol, ”not just the business owners but the entire community. Helping one another, giving, and caring for others is what it is all about.”
The maximum funding amount was $15,000 per request. While a business could make multiple requests, they had to be spaced 30 days apart and the maximum payout for the activation period was $25,000. If certain conditions were maintained, the loans were forgivable.
“We are forever grateful to the local Royse City government, the Royse City CDC and our entire community for all of the love and support during the craziest year of our lives,” said Todish. “We are confident and excited for what the future holds for Anchored Bliss Boutique. We are blessed to have made it through the pandemic, and even recently obtained a warehouse here in Royse City because of the growth of our online part of the business. The future looks bright and we will continue to offer trendy, affordable fashion for women of all shapes and sizes, the cutest gifts and accessories around, and top notch customer service!”
Discover all there is to experience in Royse City with its vibrant downtown full of shops, restaurants, and bars. To find out why small business is booming here, contact the Royse City CDC Executive Director, Charles Houk, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (972) 636-2183. Follow CDC on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Nextdoor.