Oxford small businesses receive $ 1.5 million from Restaurant Revitalization Fund – Oxford Observer

Small businesses in Oxford received a total of $ 1.5 million in emergency financial assistance from the American Rescue Plan Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

The Biden administration’s US bailout, the federal funding plan totaling $ 1.9 trillion, was passed by Congress in March. The plan is to provide a total of $ 350 billion to eligible local, state, territorial and tribal governments for economic support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also includes a restaurant revitalization fund of $ 28.6 billion. of dollars providing emergency financial assistance to small businesses across the United States.

According to the US Small Business Association (SBA), the fund was designed to help all small business owners, especially restaurateurs, stay afloat during the height of the pandemic. Priority was given to business owners who identified themselves as one of the groups known to be under-represented.

According to the US Small Business Association, 76% of Ohio grant recipients identified with one of the three priority groups of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. (Graphic by Lucy Greaney)

According to Congress Overview of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, priority groups were identified as the socioeconomically disadvantaged, women and ex-combatants. The SBA reports that about a third of the funds went to these priority groups. However, 76% of recipients in Ohio said they belonged to one or more of these identities.

According to SBA data, the grants awarded to Oxford were distributed among nine companies. Among these were Patterson Finance Company LLC and Patterson Restaurant Group LLC, which operate Patterson’s Cafe, Cru Gastro Lounge, and Paesano’s Pasta House.

The combined grant amount for the two LLCs was $ 318,434. According to business owner Michelle Patterson, the business used the grant allocation specifically to cover payrolls during the pandemic, but did not choose to raise wages. This allowed Patterson’s Cafe, 103 W. Spring St., to remain open during the height of the pandemic, she said.

“I’m sure a lot of companies have done different things, but the money was for payroll and employee retention,” Patterson said.

With the current labor shortage Affecting local Oxford businesses and national chains, hiring signs remained posted at many local businesses. According to Patterson, Patterson’s Cafe will never remove its hiring sign as it always welcomes new hires.

“We still have the listing ‘for rent’,” Patterson said. “Always have, always will.”

Although the payroll has been a central concern of Patterson’s Cafe and small businesses across the country, the SBA reports that Ohio companies have applied subsidies to other use cases, including paying down debt. , food purchases, interior maintenance, operating costs, rent payments, purchases of supplies and utility bills.

While payroll is the top priority for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the SBA reports that the Ohio grants have been used for the areas noted above. Graphic by Lucy Greaney

Matt Rupel, owner of Bodega Delicatessen, 11 W. High St., said if there had been no outside funding during the pandemic, the business would have closed permanently. To keep up with the payroll during the pandemic, Rupel took out a SBA-backed Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loan, but the company needed additional funds to repay debts, subsidize procurement costs, and pay. maintenance. Rupel and its partners have been made aware of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund through various channels and applications.

“Sometimes you just need to keep your ear to the ground to know where to apply for them,” Rupel said. “Without the PPP loans and the Fund, we wouldn’t have done it.

According to SBA data, Bodega falls under their socio-economic indicator, which helped them qualify for the grant and receive $ 38,706. Rupel is a board member of the Oxford Chamber of Commerce and learned about the grant and its qualifications there.

In June, Congress presented the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act which would provide an additional $ 60 billion to be allocated to the Original Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The newly enacted grant would be available to all small businesses, including those that have already received funding. According to Congress, the bill has yet to be considered further.

Rupel says if the replenishment law were to happen, Bodega would certainly seek funding through the SBA.

“We appreciate everything. The big challenge now is inflation, food prices and labor costs, ”Rupel said.

About Jonathan Bell

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