Business Interruption Stipends coming

The Wyoming Business Council will host webinars at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday to explain how to apply for Wyoming Business Interruption Stipends.

The council plans to begin taking applications later this week for the stipends, which are available to Wyoming-based businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees that have incurred losses due to state or local closure orders related to COVID-19.

To sign up for a webinar and get information about the stipends, go to WyoBizRelief.org.

The grants will be in amounts of up to $50,000. There is $50 million available.

Draft rules for the new stipends are awaiting the governor’s signature, Wyoming Business Council Josh Dorrell said at a webinar Tuesday morning.

“Once this is signed we will be able to be off and running with the application process,” he said. “The goal is to get this money out as fast as possible to as many businesses as possible.”

Josh Keefe, the council’s finance manager, said the council will disburse the grants to businesses within 21 days of the application but is aiming for a faster turnaround.

The grant amounts will be calculated on a formula: lost business revenue plus COVID-19 expenses (like signage for curbside delivery parking or social distancing) minus any cost savings incurred as a result of being closed and any Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Businesses can specify only revenue hits they’ve already taken, not what they anticipate in the future.

“We can’t look forward in determining that amount,” Keefe said. “We have to look back.”

First priority for the grants will be given to businesses in sectors that were specifically named in closure orders and did not receive Paycheck Protection Program loans.

The Business Council has created a streamlined application form and will not require businesses to upload a bunch of documents. However, there will be random audits, so applicants should keep supporting documents on hand.

“We wanted to make this application as simple as possible,” Dorrell said.

— Jennifer Dorsey

Clean, Careful, Connected signage

The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board is offering a downloadable PDF (see page 7C) for businesses to create “Responsibly Wild, Clean, Careful, Connected” signage to tout a health and safety message during the pandemic.

With wildlife illustrations by Tim Tomkins, the top half explains the three C’s of the campaign developed by the board’s ad agency: Clean (wash hands, sneeze into elbow), Careful (wear a mask, practice social distancing) and Connected (stay on top of information at JHCOVID.com).

The bottom half is customizable, with space to add a business name and details about what the business is doing to protect staff and customers through the Clean, Careful, Connected rubric.

At the bottom it says “One Stand. One Message. One County.”

The Travel and Tourism Board said, “It is important that we communicate in one unified voice to make the visitor expectation and experience easier.”

You can find the downloadable form at VisitJacksonHole.com/partner-resources.

— Jennifer Dorsey

Marketing grants available

Businesses and organizations have until 5 p.m. June 26 to apply for the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board’s new Community Marketing Stimulus Grants, created to help the valley promote itself to tourists as it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.

Money for the grants is included in the board’s newly approved budget. Through a process facilitated by the Events Committee the board will award grants of up to $10,000 to “community initiatives that bolster marketing efforts following the destination official relaunch campaign of Jackson Hole.”

“Currently we are in Phase 3 of our marketing campaign where we are building confidence with the visitors to demonstrate that Jackson takes safety seriously and we care about the safety of our community and our visitors,” said Kate Sollitt, executive director of the board. “This phase includes the Responsibly Wild, Clean, Careful, Connected messaging. We are also creating a dashboard with our agency partner to monitor supply and demand to determine when it will be time to drive visitation to Jackson vs. manage visitation.

“Phase 4, Safe exploration is the next phase of our marketing and we are developing those assets now. ... During phase 4 we will continue to retarget with the Responsibly Wild, Clean, Careful, Connected messaging.”

For an application and info go to VisitJacksonHole.com/partner-resources.

— Staff report

Teton Media Works offers grants

As of this week, Teton Media Works has awarded 85 businesses more than $225,000 through a matching grants offer.

The company, whose holdings include the News&Guide, the Jackson Hole Daily and Hole Scroll, is offering matching grants of up to $300,000 toward advertising for locally owned and operated businesses.

The money is for businesses that need assistance with local advertising and promotion through the News&Guide and other print and digital publications of Teton Media Works.

“Matching grants are designed to enable businesses with depleted operating budgets and cash reserves to bridge the gap and get the word out about their operations,” wrote Kevin Olson and Adam Meyer, publisher and associate publisher, when they announced the grants in mid-May.

“Local mom-and-pop-owned businesses are the heart of our valley. Consumers are the lifeblood feeding these vital organs. We can rehabilitate the valley’s economy by prioritizing spending here. Economic recovery will be sustained as you buy locally. Period.”

For information and to apply, visit TetonMediaWorks.com.

— Staff report

Xanterra sets ’20 Y’stone plans

With Yellowstone National Park now open from all sides, its largest lodging and dining concessionaire has completed its plans for the 2020 summer season.

Xanterra announced last week that some of its lodges, campgrounds, dining and tours will begin a phased reopening on a limited basis starting June 1.

“Opening and closing dates are subject to change based on future conditions and public health guidance as well as the ability to maintain a safe environment for visitors, employees and National Park Service staff,” Xanterra officials announced in a press release.

For the time being only cabins with private baths are opening in 2020. Cabins at Mammoth Hot Springs opened June 1, and those at Old Faithful open this coming Monday. Cabins associated with Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Lake Lodge open on June 17, and those at Canyon on June 19.

Four Xanterra-run campgrounds are opening: Madison on June 15, Bridge Bay and Grant Village on June 17 and Canyon on June 19.

Take-out dining is the only hot meal option in Yellowstone this summer outside of cooking around a campfire or grill.

At Old Faithful, Xanterra opened the Geyser Grill on May 22 and has plans to open the Old Faithful Lodge cafeteria and bake shop on Monday. Mammoth Hot Spring’s Terrace Grill started serving take-out food on June 1.

Eating elsewhere in the park interior will have to wait until mid-month: The Yellowstone Lake area’s Wiley’s Canteen and Lake Lodge Lobby Bar both open on June 17, as does Grant Village’s dining room. Canyon’s The Eatery won’t open until June 19.

Seven Xanterra gift shops are opening starting between May 22 and June 19.

Bike, boat, and guided fishing trips and horseback rides are all also available during summer 2020. See YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com for more information and pricing.

—Staff report

Trauner is on ‘Investor Connect’

Since the advent of the COVID-19 crisis Silicon Couloir’s Angel Group has been a lot less active with funding than previously, Executive Director Gary Trauner said during a recent interview on the Investor Connect podcast.

With people worried about contracting the virus and uncertain about what’s happening in the economy and their lives, there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty, he said.

Fear and uncertainty are “a recipe for trouble,” he said.

Silicon Couloir has been focused lately on business crisis coaching and mentoring. The demand for funding has not been as urgent, he said, estimating there’s been an 80% drop-off.

“Companies aren’t coming to us quite as much right now. ... They’re hunkering down and trying to figure out how to stay alive,” he said.

In addition, he said, a lot of the investors in the group are keeping “their powder dry,” waiting see how things shake out with companies they’ve already funded.

Among the short-term effects of the crisis are tighter requirements and more scrutiny coming from angels and investors in general, he said.

More than ever they want to see a strong management team.

“The people we know are looking at that and saying … ‘We need to know there’s a management team that’s going to be able to deal with whatever comes down the pike.’”

It’s also critical that companies, even startups, have their balance sheet under control.

“Cash is king,” Trauner said.

Investor Connect is a program under the Texas Open Angel Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to education for startup funding.

If you want to listen to the podcast go to TinyURL.com/yb4fbjjh.

Trauner is the last of six experts interview on the podcast.

— Jennifer Dorsey

Zoom briefing on biz grants

At this month’s Business Over Breakfast, Teton County legislators and the head of the Wyoming Business Council will talk about new COVID relief grants created for businesses by the state Legislature.

The Chamber of Commerce event will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. Thursday on Zoom. It’s free to attend.

Speakers will be Josh Dorrell, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council; state Sens. Dan Dockstader and Mike Gierau; and state Reps. Andy Schwartz, Mike Yin and Jim Roscoe.

This webinar will address Senate File 1001, Senate File 1002 and House Bill 1004

Legislators will talk about the bills and how to apply. The Wyoming Business Council, responsible for running the Wyoming Business Relief Program, will address the program, applications and any questions regarding that process.

— Staff report

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor and Business section coordinator. She worked in Washington, D.C., and Chicago before moving to the Tetons.

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