Times Citizen Communications is announcing the launch of a grant program aimed at buoying local small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, called Save Your Strength, will provide a dollar-for-dollar match of advertising funds across the company’s print, radio and web products.
John Goossen, the company’s general manager, said the program mimics that of some larger publishing companies in Iowa and across the nation.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for small business owners in Hardin County,” Goossen said. “Many have had to close their doors since the onset of the coronavirus restrictions. These shops, restaurants and store owners are the heart and soul of our community. For years they have supported Hardin County. It is now time for us to support them. Through the Save Your Strength grant program the Times Citizen hopes to help them stay strong until they can open their doors and all of us can welcome them back.”
The program will run through the end of June, although company leaders said the timeline could be adjusted. Tony Baranowski, TCC’s director of local media, said that while many businesses have closed their doors and a return to normalcy seems uncertain, the company’s publications have high visibility right now and businesses that can invest in advertising will see results.
“There’s not much question that our readership both in print and online is higher than it’s been in a decade,” Baranowski said. “We’re very proud of the work the news staff is doing through this situation and readers have been generous in expressing their gratitude both with their thanks and their continued subscriptions.
“But you also see it from the savvy marketers that are keeping with their advertising plans,” Baranowski added. “They know consumers are eager to buy local and support the businesses that make it safe and easy, and are creative about finding ways to do that. We want to help find those solutions.”
Businesses are invited to apply for the program through a website beginning today. Baranowski said there are options available at all levels starting at $200, and local media representatives Joy Fisher and Rick Tjabring are available to tailor the program to the needs of grant recipients.