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Rochester businesses to receive new COVID-19 grants

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Amid the pandemic, the city of Rochester is using federal CARES funding to help local businesses stay afloat. The city recently announced 30 winners of a second round of the Keep it Local, COVID-19 Innovators Grant.

One recipient, Big Bang Companies, is an entertainment and event production business in Rochester. The company usually puts on music festivals, 5K runs and other large social gatherings. Once COVID hit, Big Bang Companies shifted to providing virtual happy hours and drive-in movies and concerts at the Rochester fairgrounds. It wasn’t an easy transition.

“I spent about 15 minutes probably crying," said owner Brandon Helgeson. "Just knowing that it meant our season was done and not knowing what the future would be for our company. But we quickly decided that we needed to do some things differently and we needed to learn some things differently.”

Helgeson says Big Bang Companies plans to use the grant money to expand its current social media platform and help advertise its new COVID-safe events to bring in more people.

Other grant recipients include Bleu Duck Kitchen, Olmsted County Fair and Persimmon Bakeshop. The full list can be found on the Rochester Downtown Alliance here.

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Savannah Kelley

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