Relief for some businesses, ‘reality sinks in’ for others


Prosper Portland awarded $1 million in grants to some small businesses on Tuesday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland divvied out $1 million in grants to help keep struggling business afloat but others are sinking fast.

Nico Bella has owned Spellbound Flowers in Pioneer Courthouse Square for nearly a decade and says about 75% of her business is walkups. 

Bella told KOIN 6 News in mid-March she was worried about the toll the coronavirus would take. 

“We were hoping to be in growing season and now it’s a surviving season,” Bella said the day before business basically came to a screeching halt.  

Three weeks later, Spellbound Flowers is hanging on by a thread. It’s been getting some business from online orders, thanks to people wanting to send flowers to their loved ones they can’t see in person. But it’s still not enough to pay all of the bills. 

“Especially when you’re in the perishables trade like flowers and that,” Bella said. “You need what’s coming in today to pay for what you’re going to sell tomorrow.” 

Bella recently applied for a grant through Prosper Portland—the city’s economic development bureau—after the Portland City Council established the Portland Small Business Relief Fund.

Prosper Portland announced Tuesday it awarded grants to more than 200 businesses after receiving 8,777 applications. 

Bella said she’s happy for those who were awarded the money but the announcement was a reality check. 

“The reality’s staring to sink in that it’s going to be a lot harder, it’s going to take a lot longer and there’s a lot less to go around,” she said. 

Businesses can apply for interest-free loans through Prosper Portland starting Wednesday at 9 a.m. Those who applied for the grants can also apply for the loans. Portland has set aside $1 million for the loan program. 

Federal COVID-19 disaster relief
Prosper Portland COVID-19 crisis business resources

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