Grant money helping Ferguson businesses rebuild

St. Louis County remains under a state of emergency until further notice.

FERGUSON, Mo. -- Financial assistance is available to businesses damaged this week during protests in Ferguson.

On Sunday, as gunfire rang out on West Florissant Avenue, suspects broke into 911 Hair Salon through a front window and ransacked the place.

"The chairs were everywhere. The drawers were out on the floor," said owner Dellena Jones.

Jones hasn't been able to see many clients and cannot afford the repairs herself as a single working mother. So she is taking advantage of grant money made available by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

"These grants help small businesses in the area with their short-term needs," said Interim C.E.O. Sheila Sweeney.

State and local leaders in the public and private sectors pooled $1 million last year for a small business relief fund. To date, more than $735,000 has been allocated to 73 businesses.

But with additional damage reported Sunday night, the partnership wants owners to know help is still available.

Sweeney said, "We're not going away just because Sunday is over and a few windows are broken. We're here to help push these businesses forward."

Jones said the grant will help her reopen soon. She said she has no plans on abandoning the business she's worked at for most of her life.

"We're still here. We've been in this community a long time and we want to stay," she said.

At least three other businesses sustained similar damage Sunday and are also receiving grants to cover repair costs.

Sweeney said all businesses in the area are eligible for financial assistance should tensions flare up again.

St. Louis County remains under a state of emergency until further notice.


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