JACKSONVILLE, Florida. The federal government is helping businesses keep their doors open through its $ 28.6 billion restaurant revitalization fund. It is closed to new applicants on Monday.
To qualify, businesses must have demonstrated that at least 33% of their sales were from food and beverages and submit their tax return showing their losses since 2019. There is an upper limit of $ 10 million per company and $ 5 million per location.
The minibar announced to News4Jax when the Restaurant Revitalization Fund became available on May 3rd. Owner Brooke Sams jumped up to apply.
Brooke said the grant money received was calculated by subtracting 2019 revenue from 2020 revenue – resulting in a loss. Then take out the PPP money they were given last year. Their account said they would be the first in town to receive this money, and the first thing they did was give their team $ 10,000 in bonuses.
“I still got goosebumps. We were especially shocked about the Gate Parkway because we thought for so long to get that money,” said Sams.
Sams said while the money is sizeable it didn’t cover the hit they took.
News4Jax spoke to Sams last July. At the time, their south location didn’t qualify for city, state, or federal funding as it opened right at the start of the pandemic, but their Jacksonville Beach location did – so the minibar there received both rounds of PPP.
“We also got a catastrophe loan for economic damage,” said Sams. “So this money is now being used to keep things going and to be able to repay the SBA the interest payments on this loan that we had to take out.”
As of May 18, the Small Business Association had received more than 303,000 applications – the equivalent of $ 69 billion in aid.
In the first three weeks after its introduction, the RRF program prioritized women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged people, then applications were opened more broadly. 122.00 women entrepreneurs applied for the scholarship, including Sams.
“40% of our employees have been with us for over a year,” she said. “So each of them got $ 500 from us this week and it was really big for us because they decided to stay and work with us when they could have gone home. They are the ones who help us to get through anything. “
The SBA says the funds can be used for labor costs, rent, utilities, maintenance, operating costs and supplies.
However, the portal has been closed to new applications since Monday due to the overwhelming response. Entrepreneurs are already demanding more funds.
News4Jax reached out to the City of Jacksonville and the Small Business Association to learn how many local businesses have received the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. We are waiting for your feedback.
Sams encourages other business owners to reach out to their local and state representatives to lobby for more funding to be made available.
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