RIO GRNDE COUNTY - Rio Grande County announced Monday that businesses throughout the county have received financial aid from COVID relief funding that was issued earlier this year. Many businesses throughout the region were facing difficulties due to the pandemic and this grant quickly became a lifeline. At the beginning of November, Rio Grande County Commissioners announced the creation of a small business grant opportunity for businesses in Rio Grande County. Originally, the county set aside $300,000 of the total $966,000 the county received to help local business that have been struggling due to COVID-19 but ended up awarding just over $600,000 to several businesses within the county. “We really hope this will help some of these businesses who have been struggling,” said Rio Grande County Commissioner John Noffsker. A committee was formed to help select the grant winners from local business owners and county officials. The team of individuals including Interim County Administrator Judy Egbert, the First Southwest Community Fund, Upper Rio Grande Economic Development (URGED) and other key players have worked countless hours to streamline the grant process and get much needed financial help where it was most needed. Owner of Two Rivers BBQ Tyler Schmidt made his plight public three weeks ago, making it clear that local businesses were struggling to do the right thing and keep employees while trying to wade through the ever-changing COVID regulations that were being passed down by state Public Health officials. Schmidt was among the many businesses who received funding that will now help his business survive. Schmidt stated, “I am very thankful for the help and I will be putting it to good use, which is to keep my employees employed. If we can remain open and maintain at this rate of business, we are hopeful that we can hang on until spring when things begin to pick up.” Rio Grande County Administrator Judy Egbert stated, “We were able to get everything distributed to our grant seekers last week and we were very thankful to be able to issue funding before the holidays.” Grant recipients in Rio Grande County included: 1874 Distilling Ltd., Ace Towing., Banner Art Studio, Best Western Movie Manor, Boogie’s Restaurant LLC., Conour Animal Shelter, Conour Animal Shelter, Edgar B’s Cuts Formation Ag, Formation Ag, Hookten Harmony, JM Services, JM Services, Mellow Moon Lodge, Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce, Monte Vista Eye Care, Monte Vista Country Club, Mountain Lighthouse and Gallery, Ofelia’s Taqueria LLC, Rain Brews, Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, Sandhill Inn & Suites, Southern Colorado Computer Services, Stretch’s Barber Shop, Strohmayers Funeral Home, The Spruce Lodge, The Sunflour Café, Three Barrel Brewing, Tri County Seniors, Tumbleweed Bread, Two Rivers BBQ, Valley Publishing Inc. and Windsor Hotel and Restaurant. Grant amounts awarded ranged from $1,000 to $40,000. A huge thank you goes out to Rio Grande County for making this possible and to the businesses who continue to serve Rio Grande County in the midst of this pandemic.