State grant program closes application window due to heavy demand

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Eva's Bakery in Salt Lake City was one of several Utah businesses awarded a Shop In Utah grant.

A state grant program designed to boost consumer confidence during the coronavirus pandemic has closed its application window, less than two weeks after launching, due to heavy demand.

The “Shop in Utah” program has received 748 applications since July 27 and was nearing its $25 million cap, said Dane Ishihara, economic analyst at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development

The program initially sought to provide grants between $50,000 and $100,000, he said, but the office decided to cap the awards at $50,000 to help more businesses.

Grants were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and given to businesses that could offer patrons a significant discount on products and services.

For instance, an offer that could save customers a combined $20,000 would make a business eligible for a $40,000 grant.

Businesses that received grants and their customer deals are published on GOED’s website.

The food and beverage industry submitted 175 applications equaling $10.8 million in requests with an average loan of about $62,000.

Leisure and hospitality had 182 applications worth $8.5 million

And, in the retail sector, 116 applicants asked for $6.1 million.

The average grant award was $41,176.

“Hopefully, the ‘Shop in Utah’ program gets the customers back out, " Ishihara said, “spending money at their local businesses.”

GOED has other grant programs for business, such as Safe in Utah, which provides personal protective equipment. Ishihara estimates that more than $3 million is still available.

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