WHEATON, Md. (WDVM) — Construction of new county government office building has many businesses in Wheaton, Maryland trying to stay afloat. Montgomery County now has a small business assistance program to help.
Juan Moran, is the owner of this store in Wheaton, he says he’s been in business for 10 years. But the struggle to keep his customers started about two years ago.
“Customers tell me, Juan I want to come to your business but there are no parking spaces,” said Moran, who owns Net View Communications.
Construction on the new 14 story county office building shut down roads and eliminated parking spaces, leaving many small businesses at a loss.
“I have seen a 90% drop in my business,” said Moran.
“People cannot find parking so many people just go somewhere else because they don’t feel like walking,” said Eric Nkwenti, Coco’s Barber.
Nkwenti says he is feeling the same pain as he said many of his clients have found other places to go as parking has been a problem.
The county distributed more than $900,000 to over 20 businesses who have been impacted by the new government building, and many say they are still planning to apply for assistance.
“Most of that money is going to go toward paying rent and sometimes you get behind because you get no customers,” said Moran.
There are over 90 businesses in the “Wheaton Triangle” and officials say its top priority to keep them going
The project, which is being overseen by the county’s department of transportation, is 85% complete. Once the office building opens, officials say the small businesses should expect an increase in customers as there will be a more parking.
Eligible businesses that have yet to apply for assistance can do so through the county’s department of finance, which oversees the program. Applications and program details are available, in English and Spanish, via the department’s website at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/biz-resources/business-financing.html#sbap.