Hospitality Task Force Releases Results of its Consumer Sentiment Survey

Grazin' Diner
Grazin’ Diner, Hudson, NY

The Reimagine Hudson Hospitality Task Force has released the results of its consumer sentiment survey, which launched earlier this month.

The survey’s goal was to gather information from residents of Hudson and surrounding communities, gauging the economic impact of Covid-19 on local households, changes in spending habits, and attitudes towards patronizing local businesses after the PAUSE order is lifted.

The survey had 200+ respondents, 85% of whom are full-time Hudson-area residents, expressing their sentiments regarding a wide-variety of topics relating to dining, shopping, and hospitality options and experiences.

View the results of the survey in this PDF report.

Two New Resources for Local Artists

Two resources for local artists today: the first is a new grant program, the other a new platform for artists to share and sell their works:

Columbia County Arts Fund

Furthermore, a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, has launched the Columbia County Arts Fund. Artists who have 501(c)3 status, or can apply with a partner organization, are eligible for grants up to $5,000. Applications are open now through July 1.

Hudson Art Fair

The Hudson Art Fair has launched, giving Hudson-based artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their work online. Currently, the program is donating 25% of all online sales to the Hudson Youth Center and the Hudson Arts Emergency Program.

Hudson Bonds- Now Available for Sale- Go To Supporting Hudson’s Small Businesses

Hudson Bonds

A new initiative from the Hudson Business Coalition, HUDSON BONDS are now available for sale online.

Support the small business relief fund and help rebuild the Hudson business community by enabling its unique small businesses to make it through the PAUSE, reopen safely and thrive.

HUDSON BONDS are a community-based way to help Hudson’s small independent businesses most effected by the pandemic shutdown. Hudson Bonds help our small businesses in two important ways:

  • They provide much-needed grants to help businesses make ends meet during the shutdown
  • They provide a base of new sales once it’s safe for them to reopen—giving them a leg up when they need it most

Hudson Bonds are an innovative investment in preserving the unique character of our great small city, in which businesses are based on individual initiative and lots of hard work.

Learn more and purchase here: https://visithudsonny.com/hudson-bond

Questions can be directed to hbc@visithudsonny.org

Columbia Comeback Releases Survey, Details Upcoming Meeting

Columbia Comeback

Following the first meeting of Columbia Comeback on Monday, the committee has detailed its upcoming focus group meetings, to be held starting next Monday 5/18.

Upcoming Columbia Comeback Meetings

Meetings are live streamed & open to the public 

Industry Focus Group Meetings

Monday, May 18, 2020 | 1:00 pm – Phase I 
Includes construction, manufacturing and select retail (with curbside pickup)
View Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88101077376
Meeting ID: 881 0107 7376 | Phone: 929-205-6099

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 | 1:00 pm – Phase II 
Includes professional services, finance/insurance, retail, admin support, and real estate/rental leasing
View Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86992423721
Meeting ID: 869 9242 3721 | Phone: 929-205-6099

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 1:00 pm – Phase III 
Includes restaurants, food services and hotels
View Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81565715826
Meeting ID: 815 6571 5826 | Phone: 929-205-6099

Friday, May 22, 2020 | 1:00 pm – Phase IV 
Includes arts, entertainment, recreation and education
View Meeting:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82842478773
Meeting ID: 828 4247 8773 | Phone: 929-205-6099

Columbia Comeback Committee Meetings

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 | 1:00 pm 
View Meeting:https://youtu.be/vWt9c-hWXmk

Monday, June 8, 2020 | 1:00 pm 
View Meeting: https://youtu.be/iOmcNEtwK5U

Columbia Comeback has also released a business sentiment survey, to be completed by business owners throughout the county. Take the survey online through their website.

Columbia Comeback’s has seven focus areas, as it helps businesses and organizations prepare to reopen:

  • Minimize the spread of the virus and prioritize public health
  • Understand state guidelines; keep businesses informed with up-to-date reopening information
  • Help businesses respond and adapt to the new normal
  • Coordinate and centralize countywide collaboration and development of a resource hub
  • Support businesses in the county’s key industry clusters for future growth
  • Set realistic economic expectations
  • Prepare for future disruption

Second Round of Hudson Arts Emergency Program Grants a Total of $8,000 to 16 Artists

Tim McDowell
Photo by Timothy McDowell, who received a $500 stipend during the program’s first round

Sixteen creative workers will share a total of $8,000 in stipends in a second round of funding from the Hudson Arts Emergency Program, a community-funded, WPA-style project, supporting individual artists for projects that speak to life in Hudson during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

The first round of funding awarded $2,000 to four artists, bringing the grand total of artists to date receiving aid to 18, sharing a total of $10,000.

“We were thrilled and impressed by the thought and imagination that artists displayed in their applications, so we decided to cast as wide a net as possible in the current round of funding,” says Seth Rogovoy, who leads the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) Emergency Cultural Task Force, from which this program emerged.

Projects receiving funding include painting, photography, installations, musical compositions, performance, dance, field recordings, and video.

Individuals receiving $500 stipends as part of the second round include:

  • Victor Bloom, composition
  • Valerie Shaff, photography
  • Marc Scrivo, “Hudson for Trees,” photography, field recordings, documentation
  • Rebecca Borer, webcast
  • Alison Fox, painting
  • Victoria Sambunaris, photography
  • Sondra Loring, dance
  • Emily Smith, composition and performance
  • James Autery, video
  • Lydia Rubio, visual arts
  • Jeremy Bullis, sculpture/installation
  • Suzanne Snider, oral history
  • Jane Ehrlich, visual arts
  • Pauline Decarmo, visual arts
  • Louise Smith, mural
  • Elise McMahon, video

Learn more about the program, and download the guidelines and application, on our website.

Columbia County Chamber Chamber Foundation Creates COVID 19 Fund To Purchase Gift Cards from Local Dining Establishments

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce announced this morning that it is establishing a new program to purchase gift cards and certificates through its Chamber Foundation from local restaurants and dining establishments, and distribute them at no cost to frontline workers and first responders. Anyone interested can contribute to the fund by contacting the Chamber.

Universal Basic Income Coming to Hudson, Courtesy of Partnership Between Spark of Hudson, Andrew Yang’s Humanity Forward, and the Mayor’s Office

HudsonUP UBI Pilot
HudsonUP UBI Pilot

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) initiative for Hudson has been announced: the HudsonUP initiative is a partnership between the Spark of Hudson, Andrew Yang’s Humanity Forward non-profit, and the Hudson Mayor’s Office, under which twenty Hudson residents will receive $500 per-month for five years.

The Spark of Hudson and Humanity Forward contributed $300,000 each to the initiative. The press releases notes that “Hudson has an estimated population of approximately 6,000 residents, with a median household income of $35,439 and poverty rate of 19.2%…[making] Hudson an ideal host city for a UBI pilot program.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a fierce advocate of UBI, took to Twitter to share the announcement:

The announcement was also covered by New York Daily News online.

The Spark of Hudson is a learning and training center set to launch in Hudson, NY dedicated to reinventing education. In addition to The Spark of Hudson and HudsonUP, Wenger and Danziger have launched and funded a variety of other projects to better the greater Hudson community and beyond.

Humanity Forward is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization founded by former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. The organization is dedicated to continuing the movement inspired by Yang’s 2020 presidential campaign and to making its core ideas a reality, one of which includes UBI.

Hudson Business Coalition Releases Results of its Covid-19 Business Questionnaire

Today, the Hudson Business Coalition (HBCi) is releasing the results of its Covid-19 Business Questionnaire. The questionnaire was conducted online from April 10 to May 1, and had a total of 64 respondents, 90% of whom are Hudson-based business owners (the remainder own businesses elsewhere in Columbia county).

The full results can be found online at https://datastudio.google.com/s/oZMA_r4b848 (best viewed on a computer or tablet) or downloaded as a PDF from the Visit Hudson NY website.

Some top-line results include the following:

  • 90% of respondents are ‘on pause’— effectively ceasing operations, or operating with ’significant modifications’
  • 59% report having difficulty making rent or mortgage payments, and and 55% report difficulty paying for their operating expenses
  • 36% of respondents aren’t sure how many months they’ll be able to make rent payments, or won’t be able to pay rent for even one more month going forward
  • 20% of respondents say they are not optimistic about their prospects of returning to business after the pandemic, while 44% are optimistic about returning (36% are unsure about their prospects of returning)
  • Many respondents provided free-form responses to questions about how the pandemic has affected their businesses and the ways in which they could use assistance, both now, and as they get ready to re-open.

The Hudson Business Coalition thanks all those who responded to the questionnaire. The HBCi will use the insights gained from these results as we continue to work with elected officials and other leaders in our community to find new ways to support Hudson’s business owners and their employees during this crisis.

Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region Offers Emergency Grants to Area Small Businesses

The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region has a COVID-19 Small Business Continuity Grant Program that’s designed to help businesses keep their employees and stay afloat during a time of economic hardship due to the impacts of COVID-19. Businesses are encouraged to apply for this funding to help make payroll, to pay bills and to keep their operations going.

The grants are available to small businesses with a physical commercial storefront located or independent contractors or gig workers based in Albany County and the surrounding Capital Region. Under this program, small businesses are defined as retail, service provider, restaurant, independent contractor/gig and wholesale businesses with 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) or less. Additional eligibility factors include the following:

  • Eligible small businesses must have been in stable operation since January 1, 2020.
  • Eligible applicants cannot have any outstanding tax liabilities, tax liens, or legal judgements.
  • All applicants must show proof of seeking available Federal resources and provide evidence of all private and public assistance received.
  • National chains or independent contractors working for national chains are not eligible under this program.

Visit their website to learn more and apply.

CEDC Offering Rapid Recovery Loans to Columbia County-based Businesses

Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) has established a $300,000 CEDC and SBA Microloan Program to support small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Loans are available up to $15,000 at 3.75% interest. Applicants must be in business for at least 2 years, have 25 or fewer full-time employees, and have a minimum credit score of 625.

To learn more about the process, criteria, and to apply, view their website.