Thibodaux Main Street Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization and promotion of Historic Downtown Thibodaux, was recently awarded the Community Support Grant in the amount of $1,330 to assist small businesses recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s incredible,” said Danielle Stein, Executive Director of Thibodaux Main Street. “We don’t typically get opportunities like this, especially at a time right now when it’s most important for us to promote our local businesses, advertise that they are open and get the public’s eye so they can come down here and continue to support these businesses.”
The money — which was granted by Louisiana Main Street — is going towards signage (for advertising and designated curbside pickup sports, among other uses), a digital billboard, personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, Stein said. “It was absolutely crucial that we got that right now to help them out,” she said. “Any little bit helps.”
“A loan for a small business, honestly, isn’t that helpful because that’s just something that they have to pay back,” Stein continued. “So something, even if it’s small, that just brings awareness to their business and can also help them internally with reopening is everything right now.”
Stein also touched on how the pandemic put local businesses through tough times.
“It’s been extremely difficult,” she said. “People think that if someone opens their own business that they must have money. Most of the time, people will open a small business because they’re passionate about what they do — either the service that they provide or the products that they sell. These people are extremely passionate about their business.”
She continued: “They already don’t turn over a great profit, even during regular time. So something like this just hit him in the knee. For some of them, it really could have shut their doors.”
Downtown businesses, however, adapted to the times by utilizing E-commerce and social media and delivering purchased goods to homes in the area or sometimes neighboring parishes, Stein said.
“They really got creative…They had to hustle and do what had to be done to make money,” she said. “And I know it wasn’t the same as being open, but some of them even saw better profits than they normally do. People were in that mentality of supporting local.”
None of the downtown businesses, to her knowledge, will be permanently shutting down, Stein said.
“Nowhere else will you get the same type of customer service that you do from a small business, whether it’s downtown or any place else in the city or the parish. We will always promote and advocate for small businesses.” Stein added on the importance of shopping local.
She continued, “We want people to come down here and park and walk: go grab a bite to eat, go walk around and see what businesses are open and what they have to offer. And try to find a way to support them.”