On Thursday, May 21, 2020, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter announced the launch of two programs aimed at assisting in the recovery efforts of small, locally-owned businesses. Details of the #ShopSafelyLC Pledge Initiative and Lake Charles Small Business Stabilization Fund were released during a virtual news conference with local media. 

The #ShopSafelyLC Pledge Initiative is a campaign geared at acknowledging the enhanced health and safety efforts of small, locally-owned businesses and encouraging citizens to patronize these establishments with that reassurance. 

“We’ve asked small, locally-owned businesses to take a pledge to provide the safest environment possible for their employees and patrons by adhering to all guidelines set forth by regulatory agencies,” said Mayor Nic Hunter. “Our goal is not only to promote these businesses, but also to reassure citizens that their safety is a priority for us all.”

After taking the pledge, participating businesses are asked to post their #ShopSafelyLC placard at the entrance of their business. They will also be highlighted on the Lake Charles City Hall Facebook Page. If a local business would like to sign up to take the pledge, they should call 491-1381 or send an email to odelia.sweet@cityoflc.us.

The Lake Charles Small Business Stabilization Fund was also announced. Made possible by CDBG-CV funding, this fund is designed to assist local, small businesses that have been negatively affected by COVID-19.

“Community Development Block Grants, or CDBG, are federal funds that have specific eligibility requirements shaping how we are able to award the funds at the local level,” added Mayor Hunter. “Given the requirements set forth, we felt we could develop a program that would allow us to make a direct, positive impact for local, small businesses that have been so heavily impacted by this crisis. Depending on the number of applications received, we are looking at awarding grants of $2,500 to $5,000. The fund will assist businesses that are vital to our neighborhoods, their patrons and the employees.” 

Applicants will be carefully screened based off several criteria. Only businesses located in the corporate limits of Lake Charles will be eligible and they must have a “brick and mortar” location dependent on foot traffic for business. Food trucks, farmers’ markets and other types of physical spaces are eligible to apply.

Applicants will need to provide financial information. Eligibility determination will be based off income requirements established by federal guidelines.

Owners of small businesses located within the city limits of Lake Charles should email kimberly.dellafosse@cityoflc.us for more information on how to apply.