Phillipsburg downtown stores

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Phillipsburg was not eligible for the grant. It has since been updated.

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Andrea Kinon was supposed to open Fillet and Soul Experience in Phillipsburg in March.

“We had plans for brunches, we had plans for jazz," she said, and then the coronavirus hit hard. She says coronavirus has killed 28 of her friends and family.

“It was rough because we're the strongholds in both our families on both sides," she said.

So then, that opening became May.

On Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy announced $6 million in grants for small business to help with the rent, The Small Business Lease - Emergency Assistance Grant Program.

Only 64 municipalities, covered under the NJ Redevelopment Authority can apply. Phillipsburg is one of them.

"That helps obviously the business, but it also helps the property owners, many small businesses themselves," the governor said.

It could be a lifeline for Kinon if she can get one.

“We've tried with everyone that said they're offering money,” she said. “We've been trying to get loans to help us out, because we had no plans whatsoever to be doing just takeout and delivery. When I say we've invested everything we have in here, we have.”

The governor says this is the first part of a broader multi-million dollar Main Street relief package.

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