Invest Atlanta Tries To Help Businesses Near I-85 Bridge

Businesses around the I-85 bridge site have been struggling. Some have seen their sales cut in half.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE
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The city of Atlanta’s economic development arm is trying to help small businesses struggling from the I-85 bridge collapse.

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But not everyone agrees about what kind of help is needed.

Invest Atlanta has identified about 200 small business affected by the March 30 collapse. Some have seen drops in sales between 20 to 50 percent.

On Tuesday, Invest Atlanta held a resource fair for them. The agency invited financial lenders, insurance companies and even transit providers, like MARTA, to set up stands.

Invest Atlanta also offered its own loans with low interest rates and no payments for 6 months.

“I mean, we are really trying to make that as much a tool as possible,” said Invest Atlanta president Eloisa Klementich.

That wasn’t the tool most businesses at the event were looking for.

Maurice Hill owns a hair salon a block from the bridge site, and has watched his own employees leave because it’s so slow.

But he doesn’t think a loan’s going to help him stay afloat.

“A loan I’m going to have to pay back,” Hill said. “You know what I’m saying, I don’t need a loan. I need some of that money.”

Right now, Invest Atlanta said it doesn’t plan to provide grants to area businesses.

To draw more customers to companies, the city is hosting a “Shop and Dine” event along Cheshire Bridge Road May 17-20.