The community comes together to save The Grid in Mesa

By ELLIOTT POLAKOFF

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MESA, Arizon (KPHO, KTVK) — The Grid is a Mesa destination for gamers, music lovers, and foodies. But the pandemic has taken a toll on the popular players’ pub, and the business is looking for help paying its rent this month.

“I didn’t want to lose my house,” said client Dylan Turnage. So when Turnage heard about The Grid’s rent struggles and the growing debt the gaming pub was racking up, he set up an online fundraiser. He even started an LLC to try to keep The Grid going.

“There’s something about this place, where if you stay here long enough, you’ll end up doing some sort of work for the Grid,” he said.

For Dillin Smith, The Grid is more than his business. Smith first came here as a guest, then worked in the kitchen and bar before taking over as interim minority owner.

“I gave this place a home to some people,” Smith said. “Because it’s my second home.”

An online fundraiser has already raised over a thousand dollars, with a goal of $6,500. This, along with recent statistics from the US Census Bureau, shows that Arizona is the toughest place in the country for small businesses to get loan approvals.

“We need more CDFIs (community development finance institutions),” said Thomas Barr, vice president of business development for Local First AZ. “These are usually non-profit organizations that go out and build relationships in the community. And help finance businesses with low-interest loans.

For now, Smith hopes his Grid family will help him navigate his short-term money troubles while evaluating the best long-term strategy.

“We’re asking the community to give back to us,” he said. “As we gave them.”

For those who want to help in person, The Grid is hosting an in-person Save The Grid event on Sunday, July 31, at its Mesa location near Broadway and Gilbert roads.

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