(COLORADO SPRINGS) — On Monday, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation (Chamber & EDC) announced a $40,750 fund to help businesses in El Paso County impacted by the Club Q shooting.
“We know that many people have been so generous to support the victims and their families and the communities truly come together to support the LBGTQ+ community,” said Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation. “But we cannot forget the businesses that have also been affected. And we think that’s a role for the chamber and EDC and our partners with exponential impact to help make a difference.”
The funds will help businesses that may need additional security, or that have faced hardships from lost revenue, forced closure, or reduced employee staff hours.
Shaleen Pandya is the owner of the Subway in the shopping plaza by Club Q and he shared the impact of Club Q on the business.
“We’ve always had a very close business,” said Pandya. “Unfortunately, the two who passed away, Daniel and Derrick, they were regular customers of ours…so I’d see them all the time, at least once a week.”
Pandya said after the tragedy on November 19, Subway limited its business hours to close earlier.
“I know a lot of other businesses are, everything’s just slowed down a lot,” said Pandya. “And it’s, it’s nothing negative. It’s just like, you know, no one wants to go somewhere where tragedy has struck.”
Elephant Thai is also located in the same shopping plaza by Club Q. The owner, Suwanna Meyer, shared that the restaurant was closed for three days.
“So when I know this happened, I feel very scared, very shocked,” said Meyer. “And I never thought that this would happen in this area at all.”
Chamber & EDC partnered with the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade to give these funds to businesses affected by the shooting.
“We partner with them often when there is a need in our community,” said Kleymeyer. “And we’re just thankful that they provided the matching grant dollars so that we could now have a fund over $40,000 to support our local small businesses.”
El Paso County businesses can apply for this fund online and applications will be accepted until Dec. 12.
“We hope that everyone will go to that site and apply,” said Kleymeyer. “Special attention will be given to those that had business closure, lost revenue, decreased staff hours, decreased staff availability, added security or decreased customers.”
An independent group of volunteer business leaders will go through the applications and award grants to businesses.
“The average grant will be around $5,000, but…any business in El Paso County that is legally allowed to do business in the state of Colorado is eligible,” said Kleymeyer.
Chamber & EDC will also welcome any additional donations and if you are interested in donating to call the Chamber at 719-471-8183.
Both Subway and Elephant Thai owners shared they will be applying for the fund. Meyer is hopeful and determined to continue to serve signature dishes to the Colorado Springs community.
“I’m very happy that I can stay in this community to cook, to use my passion to serve this good food, to Colorado Springs people and people who live around this area,” said Meyer.