MANHATTAN — While small businesses throughout the city are teetering on the brink of closing down, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation — better known as LISC — has been providing a lifeline for some business owners in underserved neighborhoods.
“We invest in minority, latinx, immigrant communities,” Valerie White, the executive director of LISC NYC said. “Many of these businesses are run by undocumented individuals and these are businesses that are very important to the community.”
LISC has partnered with community organizations throughout the five boroughs, including the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses.
“Our job right now is to help them survive,” said Quenia Abreu, the president of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “They’re scared. They’re very scared.”
The Brownstone Boutique, a Harlem institution for over two decades, has seen their business devastated.
“They come here to shop for special occasions, and we’re not doing any of that right now,” Princess Jenkins, the founder of the boutique said.
With nowhere to go, the clothing racks remain full. There’s no occasion to wear the specialty hats, or any customers to buy that fancy jewelry.
“I’m just so grateful we could get that grant when we really needed it,” Jenkins said.
In Washington Heights, Escapes Beauty Salon was getting ready to close its doors.
“We would be closed right now without the grant,” Marysol Acevedo said.
The beauty salon was shut down for months last year while non-essential businesses weren’t allowed to open.
“I didn’t know where I would get the money to pay the rent,” she said.
The $10,000 allowed Acevedo to keep her business open
In all, the grants were given to 112 business owner; LISC is now looking for sponsors for their next round of grants.