The Village of Bronxville and its Chamber of Commerce and a group of concerned residents came together during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic with immediate and long-term initiatives that helped businesses in Bronxville not only survive the pandemic, but thrive.
”We hope other communities can take away something inspiring and helpful from this innovative and ground-breaking program, specifically, the myriad of creative ways to support local businesses through the impact of COVID-19 and ensure a bright future for their towns/villages and business districts,’’ said Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin.
Marsha Gordon, President of the Business Council of Westchester, commended Bronxville for its unity and initiative.
“I wanted to share this story because I know many communities have been going above and beyond to keep everyone together during this difficult time. “This is an example of how our local communities jumped into action. They should all be proud.’’
The initiative called BXV for BXV was spear-headed by Mayor Marvin and a group of concerned residents during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreseeing potential disaster for their beloved village with businesses forced to shut their doors and trade coming to almost a complete stand-still, Mayor Marvin and these caring souls began brainstorming on how they could help. They launched the initiative in June with the following actions:
Part I Loans: (June – July 2020)
Sixteen, one-year loans of $5,000 each, at less than 1 percent interest (.18% – the lowest allowed by law) were awarded to Bronxville businesses.
Intern Program: (June – August 2020)
High school seniors and college students saw their planned summer 2020 internships and jobs disappear overnight. The BXV FOR BXV Intern Program harnessed the energy and enthusiasm of local kids to assist in every aspect of the initiative, from marketing, to business relations, to project research, interviewing local business owners and writing news articles, to plain old boots on the ground handing out flyers and selling swag! The Intern team were integral in the launch and continual progress of BXV FOR BXV through the summer months.
StrongerTogether: (August 2020)
A grassroots program to raise awareness of the plight of local businesses and create an inclusive, Village-wide fund-raising platform has raised over $15,000 to date through the sale of branded items and donations. The StrongerTogether mantra is “no donation is too small.” The team established partnerships with multiple local organizations for a broader reach. In the coming weeks funds raised will be distributed as monetary gifts to Bronxville merchants to help with some of the costs of re-opening and re-configuring their businesses. The StrongerTogether fundraising campaign will resume in the fall.
Part II Loans: (September – December 2020)
A unique opportunity for businesses to prepare for the future with a 4-year loan of up to $35,000. The loans themselves are custom created with the BXV FOR BXV Committee, TrustCo Bank and The Westchester Bank. Made possible by $750,000 in credit support provided by the BXV FOR BXV Committee and a wider pool of concerned residents. An incomparable interest rate of 2.25% retained by the banks is to cover their expenses only. The Village of Bronxville, Bronxville Chamber of Commerce or any residents will not profit from the program in any way.
What’s unique about this?
The collaboration and cooperation between every sector of a community to support local business is unique. To accomplish this during the challenges of a pandemic is exceptional.
Here are specific details on how the Part II Loan Program is extraordinary:
- The structure of the loans is favorable to the business not the bank – including repayments
- $750,000 credit support provided by residents creates an exceptional borrowing opportunity
- Interest rate is 50% less than lowest interest available though usual channels. (The average interest rate on a conventional small-business loan is around 4% to 6%)
- Individual one-on-one support provided to Bronxville merchants
- No fees incurred by applicants for application, origination, prepayment, late payments
- Only interest is paid for the first 2 years
How Can This Help?
- Giving merchants both moral and financial support is good for everyone
- Strengthening Bronxville Business District for what may come
- No one wants to see businesses in their town close and store fronts empty
- Securing the economic health of a village Business District during uncertain times
- Bringing financial assistance and support to local businesses at almost no cost gives freedom and latitude for business owners to explore new initiatives, hire the help they need and continue to do business during a pandemic and beyond
- BXV FOR BXV demonstrates partnership between community, government and local
- organizations in multiple ways – this benefits both businesses owners and residents.
- The inclusive underpinnings of BXV FOR BXV strengthens community spirit.
- A community working together with the unifying goal of helping ensure the future of the village the love.
“The BXV FOR BXV initiative finds the silver lining in what has been the darkest of times for one Westchester County village. It is a spotlight on community working together with a shared goal. It is a story of collaboration, determination, creativity and hope,” said Mayor Marvin.