EVELETH, Minn. – Today, Steve Grove, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), traveled to Eveleth to meet with Iron Range small business owners during a roundtable convened by Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora). At the meeting – held outdoors on the patio at Eggy’s Red Garter Bar – business owners shared the challenges they’ve experienced since COVID-19’s emergence and their ideas to help them navigate their economic struggles due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 remains a dire threat to our public health, but at the same time, our economy isn’t designed to start and stop. Our small businesses make up the fabric of our communities, but in these tough times, they are taking a beating,” Rep. Lislegard said. “A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. We have to find solutions that work for our region to help our businesses and workers overcome the tremendous challenges they continue to experience. It is a true testament to the challenges businesses are facing that they took this time to share their concerns and I thank them for all for coming. I also thank Commissioner Grove for taking part in this important dialogue as we work to find results so we can help small businesses and our region work through this crisis.”
Many of the business owners shared similar experiences about how financially overextended they are, and while assistance from the state and federal governments has been helpful, it largely has come in the form of loans, which weigh heavily on their future. With the timeline for economic recovery still in question, the proprietors feel the need for more direct financial relief to remain sustainable and thriving. They also advocated for a regionalized approach to DEED’s COVID-19 business restrictions, recognizing the unique predicament rural communities face.
Information and resources for businesses and workers can be accessed on DEED’s COVID-19 webpage.
PHOTO: Iron Range small business owners and community leaders share economic concerns with DEED Commissioner Steve Grove (center) on the patio at Eggy’s Red Garter Bar in Eveleth Tuesday at a roundtable organized by Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL - Aurora). [LINK]