Affected by Construction, Flagler Street Businesses Get Financial Help

In all, $80,000 dollars worth of money was distributed to 40 businesses on Wednesday.

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Businesses along Flagler Street received a contribution from the city of Miami, meant to ease a financial burden.

Commissioner Manolo Reyes personally delivered 40 checks to 40 local businesses, who have said construction has negatively impacted their profits.

One of the stores that received a check was the Miami Souvenir store.

“The problem here in downtown, it depends on tourists,” said Miami Souvenir Store owner Robert Karan. “There is no tourists here, and the local people, they’re not spending money.”

Karan joked with NBC 6 that the lotto machines inside his store are the only things working, because fewer customers are coming in, and he blames the construction.

“You know the pandemic was first, now this,” said Karan. “Before they said 8-9 months, but it’s now already year and a half, and you know, it really hurts the business.”

Karan said shoppers are struggling to find them and other stores along Flagler because of the barriers and construction.

“They’re not even coming over here and that’s why we are struggling,” said Karan. “Without tourists, there is no income.”

To help make up for some of the lost profit, the city is stepping in.

“What we’re doing is a little help, to keep them open,“ said Reyes.

Reyes hand-delivered $2,000 dollar checks to 40 affected businesses, marking the second delivery after $5,000 per business was distributed last year.

“We took a page from what happened in Flagler Street and SW 1st when it was rebuilt,” said Reyes. “We tried to avoid by all means, for these businesses to close.”

The first round of checks, which the city distributed in October, totaled $185,000  in grants for businesses affected by the Flagler Street Beautification Project.

“Really, we would not be able to survive, to make those incomes,” said Karan.

Though store owners say they are grateful for the financial help, some like Karan aren’t sure it’ll be enough to stay afloat.

In all, $80,000 dollars worth of money was distributed on Wednesday.

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