DENVILLE, NJ -- The nonprofit Downtown Denville Business Improvement District has launched a tax-deductible relief fund for the downtown businesses and shopping district. The Downtown Denville Relief Fund will go toward crucial grants for downtown businesses in addition to other accommodations and support in light of the global pandemic.
“The losses from the COVID-19 pandemic are devastating to our downtown stores and shopping district,” stated Board Chairman Gene Fitzpatrick. “Our popular downtown faces probably the biggest struggle it ever has,” he continued.
Downtown Denville Executive Director Ryan Gleason is grateful for the continued support of the community, “Maintaining downtown districts and local small businesses faced tough challenges before and now it’s magnified even more with the pandemic, but our community has always pulled together.”
Local businesses face enormous financial loss from weeks of forced closings in addition to new requirements for eventually opening up to a radically new shopping experience. Stores will have to reformat their spaces, counters and routines with socially distant principals in mind. Many will struggle to even make it to re-opening.
“We have lost four storefront businesses in the last month. That is more than we lost in all of 2019. We want to do everything we can to help,” said Fitzpatrick.
The majority of the fund will support grants for all businesses in the downtown. A small percentage of the fund will be earmarked for overall downtown accommodations. Director Gleason expects the downtown to need regular maintenance and cleaning services for more outdoor eating, shopping and major adjustments to accommodate community events the downtown regularly hosts.
“All of this will cost a lot,” continued Gleason.
Fitzpatrick assured, “All the money raised will go to relief for the businesses and restoring one of New Jersey’s best downtowns. None of the money raised is going toward unnecessary administrative costs, salaries or fees.” The volunteer Downtown Denville board of directors, made up of business owners, painstakingly created the fund making sure the money raised will provide the most crucial help to one of Denville’s greatest assets, the downtown.
A separate community-led Denville Strong GoFundMe initiative recently raised nearly $40,000 to purchase meals and items from local shops for frontline workers. Fitzpatrick noted how grateful they are to those efforts but noted unfortunately more is needed.
“We’ve helped the organizers of the GoFundMe with some coordination and are so grateful for the purchases from many of our restaurants and stores, but our Downtown Denville Relief Fund will focus on direct grant relief or else these businesses and the downtown may not survive.”
More details on the Downtown Denville Relief Fund and the district can be found at www.downtowndenville.com.
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