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Central Illinois businesses get small piece of funds from first round of “Back to Business” grants

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ILLINOIS (WEEK) - Gov. JB Pritzker announced the first round of grant winners in his "Back to Business" grant program Thursday.

The program was set up to help businesses that were hit the hardest during COVID-19 related shutdowns, using $250 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan.

The first round dolled out $24 million to 521 businesses across the state.

Of those, over 60% of those grant winners are located in Cook County.

23 central Illinois businesses were selected to receive a combined total of $1,000,000, which evens out to roughly 4% of the first round total.

For perspective, Cook County accounts for roughly 40% of Illinois' population, while the 14 counties in our viewing area account for a little less than 7% of the state's population.

Of the 23 local businesses receiving grants, seven are in Peoria, six are in Galesburg, and five are in Bloomington.

The biggest grant is going to BZ Pizza IL LLC in Bloomington, which will receive $150,000.

Other winners include Pizza Ranch of Galesburg ($135,000), Connected in Peoria ($50,000), Ulrich's Rebellion Room in Peoria ($40,000), and Little Caesar's in Peoria ($5,000).

A full list of winners is below.

Rita's The OuthouseSpring Valley10,000
AMP Electrical ServicesGalesburg100,000
Baked PizzasGalesburg10,000
Fashion CleanersGalesburg5,000
Duck's Formal Wear of GalesburgGalesburg40,000
Pizza RanchGalesburg135,000
Oasis A Jeanine Dunn SalonGalesburg15,000
Gunsmoke Grill LLCCedar Point30,000
Court Street PubOttawa15,000
Pub 13Pontiac15,000
ArtsPartners of Central IllinoisPeoria35,000
Ulrichs Rebellion RoomPeoria40,000
Fun On The RunPeoria55,000
Tejs Sports Connection Inc.Peoria10,000
ConnectedPeoria50,000
Little Caesar'sPeoria5,000
Comfort SuitesPeoria65,000
Le Mouton Rouge KnitteryBloomington10,000
Best Western Plus BloomingtonBloomington75,000
BZ Pizza IL LLCBloomington150,000
OKGO Restaurant Group LLCBloomington115,000
Prairie Fire GrillBloomington15,000

Business owners can still apply for the B2B grants. The deadline is October 13th. Apply here.

To be considered for a grant, applicants must demonstrate a reduction in revenue in 2020, compared to 2019, and annual revenues of no more than $20 million in 2019.  Businesses must also provide two bank statements, a business owner ID, and federal tax returns for 2019 and 2020.

Sheridan Swathwood

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