The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region continues to award grants to grateful Schenectady businesses. The organization is making awards to small businesses impacted by COVID, and hearing from previous grant recipients about how the funds and training have been helpful. The business owners report lots of positive news about their progress.


Marie Fleury
Marie FleuryMC Transportation
Grant amount: $4,000 to help this non-emergency transportation service recover from COVID. The company, which has been open since 2018, provides curb to curb transportation. Fleury says they specialize in taking clients to dialysis treatments, day programs and doctors’ appointments. Our philosophy and commitment is to treat all clients with courtesy, respect and professionalism, and a comfortable ride to their destination,” Fleury says. “The grant I received through the Schenectady Small Business Assistance has helped me pay for insurance, utilities, car repair, taxes, loans, and office supplies; this has been an enormous help, because without the grant I wouldn’t be able to pay for most of my bills.”


Amanda Ottati
Amanda OttatiBear & Bird Boutique
Grant amount: $2,500 to assist this one-year old boutique sustain through COVID. “We opened up our fun, colorful gift shop and art gallery in November 2019, with the expectation that lower State Street would soon be a vibrant part Downtown Schenectady. But, when everything was shut down in March 2020 – that put a long pause on other nearby projects that were slated to be open later that Spring,” says owner Amanda Ottati. “The grant money we received was such a necessary positive encouragement to help us keep going! We are still here and are patiently waiting! The money we received helped us to pay the rent and utilities, freeing up some other funds to order new product and rearrange some of the store to make it even more full of interesting, unique stuff!” She adds that slowly, but surely, people are finding the store now, and even making special trips to visit them.


Duane Etienne
Duane EtienneHigh Profile Barber Shop
Grant amount: $5,000 to help this local barber shop keep its doors open during COVID. “Due to changes the pandemic has caused, I’ve taken a significant loss in business,” says Duane Etienne. “The grant’s helped me keep up with restocking PPE while keeping the lights on in the process, and so much more.” Etienne was surprised to get the grant: “I’ve never received a grant before and wasn’t anticipating this, and for that I’m forever grateful.”


Susan Rivette
Susan RivetteRookie's Sports Bar and Grill
Grant amount: $5,000 to help this 10-year old bar and restaurant catch up after state-mandated closures. “Between sales being less than 50% and doing our best in keeping everyone socially distant & virus free, the challenges are scary. Normally football season makes us enough money to get us through the slow months (summer) but not this year,” says Rivette. Operating at half capacity has been a challenge, she says. “I truly appreciate the grant that I have received from the Schenectady Small Business Assistance Program. This money will certainly help supplement what my business has lost due to this pandemic.”