Restaurant Revitalization Fund brings new hope to small business owners across Tucson area

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 6:22 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A new round of relief is about to be served up to restaurant owners starting Monday, May 3. The Small Business Administration is offering up money through their Restaurant Revitalization Fund to help with employee payroll, rent, and other expenses.

These funds could help small business owners stay on their feet during the pandemic.

“I am excited and any time there’s an opportunity like this to change the business through financial assistance especially in this industry is a blessing,” Marcella Davila-Barley, owner of The Little One, said.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is coming at a time of need for many restaurant owners.

Davila-Barley said the summer can be a tough time for restaurants during normal circumstances, and the pandemic has only made things worse.

“Fewer people downtown, so you know a much smaller customer base. The bills stayed the same, but of course, the money coming in was very different,” she said.

The pandemic shut down her sister’s renowned restaurant Café Poca Cosa and that getting assistance from this fund would be a weight off her shoulders.

With the extra money, she could pay the bills, perhaps hire more people or even extend shifts for her staff as people start to return downtown.

For the first three weeks, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will only allow select business owners to apply. They must be at least 51 percent owned by women, veterans or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Nikki Thompson’s business, Nook, fails to qualify because of a 1-percent difference.

“I feel like if you’re a small business and you’re doing everything right and you’re doing everything you can and they are offering the help. It is just a little bit frustrating to be just that close to be able to do it,” Thompson said.

Though it is frustrating, Thompson said she’s hoping to have the extra push before summer comes to help them stay on their feet.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to get any help that we can get and we’re just waiting our turn,” she said.

If you’d like to find out if your business qualifies for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, you can find more information here.

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