How Small Businesses in the Heartland Are Coping

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Brookings Institution hosted a webinar on June 10 titled “Mitigating the Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Rural Areas.” Moderator Tracy Hadden Loh, a Brookings Institution Fellow, engaged three experts on rural economies in looking back at the pandemic’s effect on two small towns and across rural America, and how recovery steps are taking shape. The panelists were Lindsey Dotson, executive director of the Main Street Downtown Development Authority in Charlevoix, Michigan; Todd Wolford, executive director of Downtown Wytheville, Inc., Wytheville, Virginia; and Matt Wagner, vice president of revitalization programs at the National Main Street Center.

Much of the discussion initially focused on Charlevoix and Wytheville’s early pandemic experiences, which were shared by rural communities across the country. Participants spent those weeks helping small businesses adapt to new guidelines, understand and take advantage of new resources and apply for Paycheck Protection Program and Emergency Impact and Disaster Loans.

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