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Through this series, we examine the disproportionate financial toll of COVID-19 on Black and Latino communities, including how it has affected individuals, families and businesses.

'It Gave Me Hope': City Details $37M In COVID-19 Grants To Businesses

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David Flower
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City of Charlotte
Greg and Subrina Collier talked during a city press conference Wednesday about how a city grant helped their restaurant business during the coronavirus pandemic.

Está historia está disponible en español en La Noticia

Charlotte officials say 2,840 small businesses and restaurants have received more than $37 million in aid through the city's federally-funded COVID-19 grant programs. Many grantees were minority-owned businesses.

City officials created the small business and restaurant programs using federal CARES Act funding. Small businesses received $30.3 million and $7.15 million went to restaurants and other food and beverage businesses.

About 71% of the assistance paid to 2,500 small businesses went to micro-businesses with fewer than six employees, which got $10,000. The rest went to companies with six or more employees, which got $25,000 each.

Giovy Buyers of Southern Blossom Florist in Dilworth said she applied for but couldn't get assistance from either the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Small Business Administration.

"But when I received an email from the city of Charlotte telling me that I had received a grant, I was super excited. Not only (did) the grant help us financially, but also gave me the hope that I was looking for," Buyers said.

Buyers' survival story because of a local grant was featured in a September New York Times article.

The city says 61% of the grants went to Black, Latino and Asian-American owned businesses: 42% to Black-owned businesses, 36% white-owned businesses, 10% to Asian-Americans and 9% to Hispanic owners. About 3% went to "other."

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City of Charlotte
A map shows the locations of small businesses (red) and food and beverage businesses that got more than $37 million in city COVID-19 relief grants.

Helping City's Restaurants

Meanwhile, the city also gave $7.15 million to 340 restaurants and other food and beverage businesses. They could apply for grants of either $10,000 or $25,000

Chef Greg Collier and his wife Subrina own Uptown Yolk at 7th Street Market, which got $25,000 from the city.

"We were able to pay people, to kind of keep people on. We also, with Uptown Yolk, we were able to turn it into kind of a community kitchen … to help people who were in more need than us," he said.

The Colliers also started another restaurant in March, just as the pandemic hit. This week, Leah and Louise was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Esquire magazine.

A map of all the small business and restaurant grants shows they went to owners all across the city.

Recipients and Other Details

Find lists of the grant recipients and other details on the city's Charlotte Open for Business website

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