Business owners say GTP’s Business Continuity Grant Program helped them plan for emergencies

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 2:25 PM CDT

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Some Topeka business owners claim a program designed to help them plan for emergencies has made them better at their work.

They told Shawnee Co. Commissioners at their meeting Monday the Greater Topeka Partnership’s (GTP) Business Continuity Grant Program forced them to think about the fate of their business if a weather-related or pandemic-level disaster happened to them.

Leslie Fleuranges, the owner of Tender Loving Care Pet Nursing Hotel, said ahead of the pandemic she was more focused on having a thriving business.

“What the program did for us was made me think about ‘oh my gosh, I have all of these dogs plus, of course, my employees. What would I do if we had a weather emergency and had to evacuate? where would we evacuate to? how would we evacuate the dogs?’”

“We thought about what would happen with a pandemic if this ever happens again, what would we do? These are not things when you’re dreaming about a business you’re thinking about you’re not thinking about disaster you’re thinking about how to make your business successful.”

Jake Taylor, the owner of Curb Appeal Power Wash, said his plan already proved useful when he thought he had a heart attack.

Taylor said he had all of the company’s relevant passwords and contact information for business partners.

“In putting together a continuity plan I had never really thought about what would happen if something happened to me,” he said.

“It was work but it was work that was in the right direction where the incentive was properly aligned for something that would help us grow.”

GTP offered business owners a $5,000 grant if they took a four-hour course and created a plan outlining the steps they would take to keep their business going.

“We wanted them to see that once you commit to writing down your dreams of owning this business and operating this business you need to also think about what let me dream about what if a disaster occurs,” GTP’s Glenda Washington said.

Washington said 61 businesses participated in the program and were awarded over $300,000 in grants.

Copyright 2021 WIBW. All rights reserved.