Dear Neighbor,

Six months ago, I stood in a restaurant in Edgewater on Broadway and alongside small businesses, community partners and press in attendance, announced that I’d secured $2.5 million specifically for mom and pop small businesses in our far northside district. I had grown weary of hearing from too many small business owners across our district who feel the squeeze of sudden rent increases and gentrification on their storefronts, lack of translation services for immigrant-owned shops, difficulty with payroll, and other systemic challenges. We created the 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant from scratch with these funds to fill in these major gaps.

I have an update to share about the 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant. The grant process has now been completed and 225 small businesses across our district have received their grants! From Rogers Park to Buena Park to Lincoln Square to Uptown to Budlong Woods to Andersonville to Ravenswood to Edgewater, brick and mortar small businesses from every corner of the 7th District and in every single commercial corridor have received grants. Full details on the grant program are below. I could not be more proud of the 7SBRG and the timely and positive boost and encouragement it has given our local mom and pop shops and storefronts.

Caption: Senator Mike Simmons, along with dozens of 7th District small business owners, chambers and community leaders gathered in Edgewater in December to announce the launch of the 7th District Small Business Restoration Grant.

Thank you to the five local chambers and our community organizations who worked with me and my team to pull off this unprecedented and innovative program, and to our indispensable partners who provided translation services in more than a dozen languages. I’m inspired by what we were able to accomplish here. I also want to thank my Chief of Staff, Heather Saenger, who worked tirelessly to help make this happen and has a heart for our small businesses and especially those that have been left out of previous assistance efforts. Last but not least, thank you to the staff at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for working with us to execute a vision that at first seemed daunting.

We did it!


Mike Simmons
State Senator | 7th District

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