Small Business Relief Fund Awards $50,000 to Businesses in Gary and East Chicago

Small Business Relief Fund Awards $50,000 to Businesses in Gary and East Chicago

Legacy Foundation announced awards totaling $50,000 to 17 small businesses located in the cities of East Chicago and Gary, Ind. The grants ranged from $2,500 to $5,000. Legacy Foundation and Indiana Black Expo partnered to establish the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund in response to the urgent need for assistance to sustain Gary and East Chicago small businesses.

“We wanted to help, in some way, those businesses that were severely impacted, like barbershops and restaurants that had to completely shut down,” said Kelly Anoe, Legacy Foundation Vice President.

Jeffrey Colby, one of the small business grant recipients, and owner of Playboy Barber and Style Shop in Gary, had to close for two months this year due to the pandemic.

“Being around for over 50 years, Playboy Barber Shop is an institution in Gary,” said Anoe. Colby is the family’s third generation to own and operate the shop, which was started by his grandmother and mother in 1965.

Recipients of the small business grant include BMO Home Health Care, Inc., Boulevard Shrimp, Clean Paws Mobile Grooming, Comfortable Conversations, Dialogue LLC, Harbor Barbers, J's Breakfast Club, JMD Construction, Main Sporting Goods, Metro Foods, Mother's Little Tots, Playboy Barber & Style Shop, Rudeone Kustomz, Shear Creations, Sun Appliance Repair, Triple T's Top Notch Homemade Sandwiches, and Uniquely Yours Beauty Salon.

The awarded businesses cover a diverse set of industries, including beauty, food, retail, childcare, and construction, and auto. Eligible businesses needed to demonstrate a reduction in sales revenue due to the loss of business income related to COVID-19. The grant requirements defined small businesses as enterprises of between 1-25 people, and gross revenue not exceeding $1,000,000 in 2019.

Minority-owned small businesses were given priority in the application process. Between February and April of 2020, the number of business owners in the United States fell from 15 million to 11.7 million, a 22% decline in small businesses in just two months. In the same period, Black-owned small businesses declined by 41% and Latinx businesses declined by 32%, according to a survey by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The South Shore Neighborhood Development Corporation managed the grant application process. See the full list of businesses and award amounts at