The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Business Interruption Fund (BIF) pilot project has exceeded the $1 million mark in the award of 62 grants to “mom & pop” businesses directly impacted by construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project. BIF began operations this past February.
“Local businesses are the lifeline of a community. Since construction began on the Crenshaw/LAX line, our small businesses have been asked to endure dust, noise, and significant disruption to their daily operations,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This million dollar milestone represents a significant and well-deserved investment in the Crenshaw Corridor. It demonstrates Metro’s commitment to helping local small businesses not only survive, but be ready to thrive when the Crenshaw line reopens.”
One of the recently awarded BIF grants that pushed the total awards beyond the $1 million mark was awarded to The New Millennium Beauty & Barber Shop Salon, 4306 Crenshaw Blvd. where excavation and construction of the underground Lemiert Park Station is taking place. The sports theme barbershop is owned by Desentrie Allen. “This grant is a true blessing,” said Allen.
“We need to ensure that the transformation of L.A.’s public transportation into a world class transit system does not adversely impact our small businesses –the lifeblood of the city’s local economy,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board member Eric Garcetti. “Our Business Interruption Fund is helping the small business community thrive amidst any temporary inconveniences posed during Metro’s expansion construction.”
The New Millennium Beauty & Barber Shop was established in August 1998 in the Crenshaw corridor. In 2000 Allen purchased the building where the barbershop business is currently located. The main revenue source is its sports themed barbershop. In 2008 at its peak operations Allen had 21 independent hair professionals operating at The New Millennium. Allen owns two commercial properties on Crenshaw Boulevard. He also signed up for Metro’s BIF fund administrator, Pacific Coast Regional (PCR), Small Business Development Corporations (SBDC) services to develop a long-term strategy for both commercial properties.
“The fact that Metro has already awarded more than $1 million in grants to help small businesses that have been adversely impacted by rail construction is proof this agency backs its words with action,” said Metro Board member Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker. “Our ‘mom and pop’ businesses are the mainstay of our community and Metro recognizes how important it is to partner with them during the construction period by not only mitigating their losses and help to insure that communities truly benefit from the new transit services. Providing assistance that will help to sustain their business during the construction period and protect the local economies via the BIF is a model for the nation.”
“Metro’s commitment to assist small “mom and pop” businesses directly impacted by rail construction is in full swing and is helping these merchants weather construction so they can welcome new customers when the rail line opens,” said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “This program, approved by the Metro Board, also applies to small businesses in Little Tokyo near the Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension Phase 1, where soon businesses will feel the construction impact.”
Per the guidelines of the BIF program businesses directly impacted by Metro rail construction can receive more than one BIF grant award yet cannot exceed $50,000 annually or 60% of annual business revenue losses. The program is being administered by PCR, a small business development corporation and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with more than 30 years of financial services experience.
The BIF is a first for Metro along with the Crenshaw/LAX pilot Business Solution Center (BSC). These economic programs continue to demonstrate Metro’s commitment to support small businesses through construction of the expanding Metro Rail system.
Who can apply for finance assistance?
Qualifying businesses are those with at least two years of continuous operating history; 25 or fewer total employees; in good standing with local, state and federal taxing and licensing authorities and those able to produce relevant financial records (e.g. gross receipts, payroll taxes, bank statements or other financial information) demonstrating a loss of business revenue directly related to the period of construction disruption. It must be noted that BIF financial assistance is only available for those businesses impacted by the three identified transit rail construction projects. Businesses located along any of Metro’s other lines do not qualify.
How to apply for financial assistance:
All small mom & pop business owners directly impacted by any of the three rail construction projects are encouraged to visit PCR at pcrcorp.org or call Angela Winston at (213) 739-2999, extension 223 to learn how to apply and or make an appointment with a BIF business advisor.
Metro also implemented the Crenshaw/LAX Business Solution Center (BSC), a pilot program to assist businesses by providing free support services to business owners including business development and financial referrals. Information about Metro’s Business Solution Center can be accessed at metrobsc.net/crenshaw
Metro has launched the Business Assistance Center serving Little Tokyo which is operated by the Asian Pacific Islander-Small Business Program (API-SBP), located at Metro’s Regional Connector Little Tokyo Community Office, 360 E. 1st Street. Operations began on Feb. 23, 2015.
Additionally, the promotional campaign Eat, Shop, Play Crenshawmetro.net/interactives/html/eatshopplay encourages residents to pledge to shop locally and win cash prizes of up to $1,000. Metro is also promoting business through its “Open for Business” video series, featuring businesses along the rail alignment.
The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line is a $2.058 billion light-rail line that will connect the Green Line and the Expo Line. It will have eight new stations to serve the Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX communities. It is expected to open in 2019.
For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project go to metro.net/Crenshaw or join us on Facebook at facebook.com/CrenshawRail and on Twitter at twitter.com/crenshawrail or call the project hotline (213) 922-2736.