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Downtown Kalamazoo and COVID-19

As  various policies have been enacted across the state, Downtown Kalamazoo businesses have felt the impact in their lives and bottom lines.  We know that during this time, the public health is a top priority, but there are still simple ways to support downtown businesses right now to ensure they are still there when orders allow businesses to reopen. Join us in supporting downtown businesses.  

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Most important, support downtown businesses by shopping local - purchase gift cards, shop online, or order takeout. Your purchase now helps businesses make it through until they are able to reopen again.

See Business Updates below.



Purchase Downtown Dollars that can be redeemed at 30+ downtown businesses – use yourself or give them as a gift to family and friends.

Buy Downtown Dollars



Give a tax deductible donation to the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, a 501(c)3. Donations received go to initiatives that directly support businesses.

Make a donation


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Click below to get the latest update on your favorite food + drink, retail, or service business in downtown Kalamazoo. 

Food + Drink

Food + Drink



Services + Attractions

Services + Attractions

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Personal Protective Equipment

As the downtown community prepares to reopen businesses amid COVID-19, the need for personal protection equipment (PPE) in all industries has become the new normal. As you look for PPE to protect your employees, please consider purchasing locally - as you know, small businesses need the support now more than ever before.

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership has compiled a list of resources of local companies and individuals who are making and selling personal protective equipment. Additionally, make sure to check out our partner Southwest Michigan First's list of regional PPE suppliers.

Company Location PPE Product(s)
Agio Imaging
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kalamazoo Sneeze Guards
Bell's Brewery
Kalamazoo Hand Sanitizer
Continental Linen Services
Kalamazoo Hand Sanitizer
Face Masks
Disposable Gloves
Microfiber Cleaning Towels
Green Door Distilling Company
Website | Email
Kalamazoo Sanitizer
Harbor Industries
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Grand Haven Protective shield products
Sanitation Stations
House of Pariah
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kalamazoo Face Masks
Kalamazoo Stillhouse
Kalamazoo Hand Sanitizer
Kzoo Sewn
Kalamazoo Face Masks
LFW Office Solutions
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kalamazoo Face masks
Singh Automation
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Portage Sanitizer
Website | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kalamazoo Face Shields
The Station: Dancewear and Studio
Kalamazoo Face Masks
Woolly Mammoth Design
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kalamazoo Face masks

Federal Resources

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. This over $2 trillion economic relief package delivers on the Trump Administration’s commitment to protecting the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserve jobs for our American industries.

The package provides $350 billion for 100-percent federally-guaranteed loans for eight weeks of assistance to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals are also eligible for these loans.

Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.

Resources from the Office of Congressman Fred Upton:

State Resources

MEDC Match on Main Program

The Match on Main COVID-19 Response Program temporarily expands the MEDC’s Match on Main Program and will provide up to $50,000 to local downtown management organizations to administer to eligible small businesses located in traditional downtowns, neighborhood and commercial districts, or areas planned and zoned for concentrated commercial development. This program serves as a tool for local units of government, downtown development authorities, or other downtown management organizations, like the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, that desire to support place-based businesses located in their traditional commercial districts by providing grant funding to eligible businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Program Details + Eligibility Criteria

The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is eligible to apply for up to a total of $50,000 on behalf of the businesses we represent. Downtown Kalamazoo businesses that meet the following criteria can submit an application to the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership to be a recipient of these grant funds. Up to 25 different businesses will be selected to receive $2,000 each in grant funding.

Eligible Businesses (per MEDC requirements):

  • The business was affected by the COVID-19 outbreak
  • The business is for-profit and headquartered in Michigan
  • The business has 25 employees or less
  • The business sells products or services face to face within a traditional downtown, neighborhood or commercial district, or area planned and zoned for concentrated development
  • The business has not already received or been approved to receive MSF Small Business Relief Program funding or an MEDC Match on Main grant within the last 24 months
  • Low-to-Moderate Income Owner *MEDC Preference, not required

Ineligible Businesses (per MEDC requirements):

  • Non-profits
  • Franchises
  • Businesses located in strip malls
  • “Big Box” retailers
  • Marijuana related businesses
  • Businesses who have been approved to receive support from the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Small Business Relief Program or an MEDC Match on Main Grant within the last 24 months

Eligible Uses of Grant Funds

Grant funds may be used by the business for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, COVID-19 relief or recovery expenses or other ordinary business expenses.

Application Process

  1. Interested businesses shall first download the Local Business Worksheet to their computer or laptop, complete and save the application. Businesses must then submit applications to the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., no later than Monday, May 25 at 5:00 p.m. Due to the tight application deadline, worksheets received after that time will not be considered.

  2. Businesses will be selected by a review committee comprised of the public, private and nonprofit sectors, including representatives from local economic development organizations, business support organizations, the City, and downtown businesses ineligible to apply. The committee will evaluate the worksheets using a scoring matrix provided by MEDC to determine which businesses will be included in the overall application. Businesses who meet eligibility requirements, demonstrate the greatest financial, and have not already received financial assistance will be given priority, but all eligible businesses are encouraged to apply. Please note: submitting a business application does not guarantee inclusion in the grant application.

  3. The Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership will notify all businesses selected as part of the grant application by Friday, May 29, 2020 and submit the grant application for consideration by the MEDC. The MEDC will announce awardees by Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
Learn more about the program here.
Michigan Small Business Relief Grants

Michigan Small Business Relief Grants will provide up to $10 million in grant funding to one or more local economic development organizations or nonprofit economic development organizations to provide grants up to $10,000 to support certain small businesses statewide that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Amounts per lead local economic development partner will be determined based on potential impact per region. Southwest Michigan First has been allotted $800,000.

Eligible businesses means that:

  • business is in downtown and high-impact corridors;
  • have 50 employees or fewer;
  • need working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business; and
  • able to demonstrate an income loss as a result of the EO, or the COVID-19 outbreak.

If the business has more than 50 employees, they might qualify for a loan.

Learn more and apply today

MWF Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund

Michigan Women Forward, announced a new initiative to help entrepreneurs safely reopen their businesses in this new normal. With the generous support of MEDC, the SBA, NEI, and many notable corporate and individual donors, Michigan Women Forward launched the 1.5 million Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund to provide both grants and loans to entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups.

The Michigan Entrepreneur Resilience Fund is intended to support small businesses as they recover from unprecedented COVID-19 business closures. Grants and microloans will provide gap funding to ensure businesses survive the COVID-19 crisis, pivot to meet new or changed demand, or reopen their business quickly and safely when the executive order is lifted.

Learn more and apply today

MI Local Biz (MEDC)

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in conjunction with the Detroit-based crowdfunding platform, Patronicity, has developed “MI Local Biz”, a creative funding mechanism to offer quick access to capital for small local businesses in this great time of need. The MEDC will match crowdfunding raises on a 1:1 basis up to $5,000 for eligible small businesses experiencing economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.

Learn more and apply today.

Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center has a number of resources available to small businesses including information on and applications for SBA Disaster Loans, personalized consulting, and multiple business support webinars.

Visit their website.

Local Resources

Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund

The new Kalamazoo Small Business Loan Fund, a partnership from The City of Kalamazoo, Michigan and United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region provides urgent relief to small businesses via low-interest loans of between $5,000 and $50,000 with approval and payment expected in a matter of days. Loans could be used to cover operational expenses, payroll, and benefits.

The total term of each loan will be 36 months. No payments will be required for six months, followed by a fully amortizing 30-month term at an interest rate of 1%. Applications will be reviewed for approval by an advisory board consisting of economic development and community representatives. The review is expected to take place weekly with a goal to wire funds as early as two days after receiving an application. This program is emergency relief and is intended to be temporary, with loans being made until approved grant funds are exhausted or its closure by the partners.

Learn more and apply today.

Kalamazoo Micro-Enterprise Grants

Kalamazoo Micro-Enterprise Grants (KMEG) provide $5,000 grants to eligible microbusinesses within the city limits. The $500,000 grant program is designed to bring relief to Kalamazoo's smallest businesses hit hardest by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is a partnership between the City of Kalamazoo and United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region with support from the Consumers Energy Foundation and the city's Foundation For Excellence.

The application window is noon on May 13, 2020, through 5 p.m. May 27, 2020.

Learn more and apply today.


Kiva, a non-profit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world, is also answering the call to support struggling businesses looking for a 0% interest loan up to $15,000 prepared.

If your businesses is not already a Kiva Trustee-endorsed project, local members of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) can help you get an endorsement. Contact a LISC member that supports your type of business to learn more to start your application:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Food-based businesses
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Any business type in the city of Kalamazoo
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Any business type in the city of Kalamazoo
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. — Any business type in the city of Kalamazoo

Technical Resources

Southwest Michigan First - Back to Business | Back on Board Webinar

The Southwest Michigan First Chamber will be back on Friday, May 15 at 9:30 am for their second call in a series of small business discussions, titled “Back to Business | Back on Board,” that will continue throughout the month of May.

Please join the Southwest Michigan First Chamber for an update from Chris Lampen-Crowell of Gazelle Sports, Kevin Brozovich of Rose Street Advisors and Todd McDonald of CSM Group to help us explore how businesses have had to rethink their previous business models in order to survive under new conditions.

After hearing from the panelists, participants will spend the second half of our time together in small breakout groups where they will reflect on the presented material and chat about how to move our businesses forward.

Click here to register

Discover Kalamazoo - Communication and Marketing Strategies Webinar

Discover Kalamazoo, in partnership with TwoSix Digital, is offering the last of its three-part educational webinar series to the community to learn more about effective marketing strategies in this changing environment.

On Wednesday, May 20 at 1 p.m., join “The Dos and Don’ts of Successful Content Marketing.” Brian Matson with TwoSix Digital will walk attendees through a series of dos and don'ts to successfully leverage social media channels and online audiences to take their marketing efforts to the next level. Hear his take on the top things you need to be doing right now to jumpstart your business during these challenging times.

Click here to register



The Michigan Small Business Development Center has a variety of webinar recordings available to you at no cost. We encourage you to register for other online and in-person workshops.

Click here to register

Real-time Mentoring

To answer business owners’ questions quickly in the fast-changing landscape of COVID-19, SCORE mobilized a new, faster way to work with mentors.

Their Real-Time Mentoring platform is an online, interactive environment where you can connect with expert SCORE mentors LIVE. Mentors will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. ET.

Click here to learn more

Downtown Dollars

For the remainder of 2020, the Partnership will waive all administrative fees for businesses related to Downtown Dollars. Businesses will get 100 percent of Downtown Dollars submitted, and the Partnership will absorb all administrative costs.