Coronavirus: Dayton area mall owner partners to aid businesses closed by COVID-19

The owner of the Dayton Mall and The Mall at Fairfield Commons has helped launch an effort to address the unprecedented business closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Columbus-based Washington Prime Group Inc. is working with the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship and University of Chicago faculty to launch the Open for Small Business initiative.

“As many small businesses have been closed during the coronavirus pandemic, these local entrepreneurs are increasingly finding it difficult if not impossible to currently pay operating expenses such as payroll, insurance, utilities, loan interest, inventory and, of course, their rent,” according to the initiative’s website.

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The website can be found at

“While the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been dramatic to say the least, there will be a return to normalcy…and when things settle down, we all better make sure small business owners are indeed ready to open for business,” Washington Prime Group CEO and Director Lou Conforti said in a statement issued by the company

“These individuals, many of whom are women and minorities, possess an entrepreneurial spirit which is best defined by hard work, creativity and a passion for the products and services they deliver to their neighbors,” he added.

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The company earlier announced the two Dayton-area malls in Beavercreek and Miami Twp. will remain closed due to the coronavirus until a date in compliance with applicable federal, local or state mandates, according to its website.

The company has more than 100 assets in 20-plus states, including nine properties each in Ohio and Illinois, where both initiative partners are located.

The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship is a Chicago-based organization that provides legal assistance to small business. It helps clients develop strategic plans to overcome legal obstacles, according to its website.

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The initiative announced Monday recognizes “the essential role small businesses play as a major driver of the U.S. economy as well as comprising a substantial percentage of retail oriented tenancy,” according to Washington Prime.

To help address the reality small businesses face concerning near term cash flow, Open for Small Business has “provided an easy to use lease modification as well as other relevant templates which allow for the deferral of payments until these local entrepreneurs get back on their feet,” according to Washington Prime.

CORONAVIRUS: Owner of Dayton Mall, Mall at Fairfield Commons extends closures due to COVID-19

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