BELEN—In an effort to keep local businesses and their customers safe, Belen MainStreet Partnership will be delivering personal protective equipment this week.
After being awarded a $5,000 Wells Fargo Community Fund grant, the board of Belen MainStreet Partnership voted to spend the money locally, to help business and their customers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rhona Baca Espinoza, the executive director of the BMP, said as more businesses are opening up, the board wanted them to feel as prepared and safe as possible while making sure their customers feel safe as well.
She said $3,000 of the grant will be used for PPE, including handmade cloth masks — made by Loretta Hanson and Kimberly Carrasco — paper masks — which are delayed because of low supply — hand sanitizer and gloves, .
“We’ll distribute the PPE to our local, small MainStreet businesses first, and then to the rest of the community,” Espinoza said.
The Belen MainStreet Partnership district is from Baca to Reinken avenue, and Main to First street.
BMP is also going to distribute signs, made by Wright Print Shop, to businesses saying “Open for Business — A COVID safe practice business.”
“Part of the challenges going on is that consumer confidence in getting out and into the thick of things is lacking,” Espinoza said. “With those notifications on business’ windows, they have everything in place to make sure their customers feel safe.”
Espinoza said as soon as everyone is open for business, they’re going to hold a luncheon and workshop, in partnership with Small Business Development Center, on touchless purchases and other safe practices that will make businesses more successful.
The remaining balance of the Wells Fargo Community Fund grant will pay for the free lunch and workshop.
The Belen MainStreet Partnership has also been awarded two other grants — $12,000 from a Great Blocks on MainStreet Grant, and another $10,000 Wells Fargo Community Fund Grant.
Espinoza said they will be used for signs throughout the district as well as at the entrances into the city.
“We’ve ordered six message centers, in which we put maps and information about the attractions in the district,” Espinoza said. “These message centers will be placed within the district and they are 3×4 feet.”
The other signs at four of the entrance points to the city will be 36-inch signs and will include both the Belen MainStreet Partnership and New Mexico MainStreet logos.
Espinoza said she hope to have all the signs erected by the end of the summer.
“We’re doing a lot of good stuff for our MainStreet businesses and our district,” she said.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.