Little Tokyo Businesses Receive Grants from GoFundMe Campaign

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Mary Onoue of Kuragami Florist holds a check she received from a small business relief fund created by the Little Tokyo Community Council.

Mamoru Hanamaru of Mimtsuru Grill

The Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) has awarded a total of $50,000 in grant funding to 25 small businesses in Little Tokyo that have faced significant revenue losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Each business has received a $2,000 grant made possible by donations from the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund, a program created as a partnership between LTCC and the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) to provide financial support for local businesses during the ongoing pandemic.

“Thank you to the support of our community and donors for helping our small businesses persevere during these challenging times,” said Kristin Fukushima, LTCC managing director. “Little Tokyo and its broader community have always pulled together during times of crises, and the pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of community and interconnectedness.

“While these grants are small, the larger value is the power of community and support, and making sure businesses know the community cares deeply about them and they are not alone.”

Norihiko Takatani of Anzen Hardware

Little Tokyo businesses receiving the first round of grants include Anshindo, Anzen Hardware, Blooming Art Gallery, Bunkado, Du Japon Hair Club, Elite Graphics, Hair Craft, Kagura, Korea BBQ House, Korean Hibachi BBQ, Kouraku, Kuragami Florist, Little Tokyo Cosmetics, Mako Sushi, Mitsuru Cafe, Mitsuru Sushi & Grill, Mr. Ramen, Nirvana, Oomasa, Rafu Bussan, Suehiro Cafe, Sushi Komasa, T.O.T. (Teishokuya of Tokyo), Vantage Sport Shop and CRFT by Maki.

The first round of grantees included 24 legacy businesses averaging over 39 years of operation.

“Thanks to LTCC and all the people who donated to the relief fund for Little Tokyo small businesses. Bunkado has been serving the Little Tokyo community for nearly 75 years with your support,” said Irene Tsukada Simonian, owner of Bunkado. “Our business has endured tough times and this grant will help us keep our doors open and keep doing what we love. We are very grateful for the continued support.”

LTCC has a fundraising goal of $500,000 to be able to provide $2,000 grants for as many as possible of the eligible local businesses that successfully apply and qualify for the program. Eligibility is determined through the application process available at littletokyola.org/gofundme.

Naoko Ikeda of Blooming Art Gallery

Another round of grants will be awarded when the fund reaches the $100,000 mark.

In addition to the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund, the LTCC has relaunched its Community Feeding Community (CFC) program in response to Los Angeles County’s closure of outdoor dining establishments and recently imposed stay-at-home order.

The program provides free meals for those whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19 closures while supporting small businesses in Little Tokyo by purchasing and distributing meals within the community. The program has distributed close to 6,700 meals and supported 75 local businesses to date.

The LTCC continues to accept donations and applications for the Small Business Relief Fund and donations to CFC. LTSC Small Business Assistance Program staff is available to help fill out applications.

For English-language support, contact Megan Teramoto at [email protected] and for Japanese-language support, contact Mariko Lochridge at [email protected].

Korean, Chinese, and Spanish interpretation are available upon request and can be made in language to Lochridge.

For more information about and to donate to the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund, visit littletokyola.org/gofundme.

To donate or receive a meal through the Community Feeding Community initiative, visit littletokyola.org/cfc.

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