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Eateries hopeful as applications for $28 billion federal program begin

Angelo’s Coney Island has a lot of needs to meet if the restaurant wins a share of the money
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 7:21 PM EDT
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MUNDY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - Bars, restaurants and other eateries across the nation can begin applying Monday for a share of more than $28 billion through the Small Business Administration.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is part of the massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in February. Many bars and restaurants around Mid-Michigan are hopeful for something positive as they file their applications.

Erin Flowers, who owns Angelo’s Coney Island in Mundy Township, hopes to get a share of the money to complete some necessary repairs to the building and also catch up on bills.

“It’s been very hard,” she said. “A lot of people don’t want to come to work and a lot of people didn’t come to work.”

So when there’s only a few people wearing multiple hats -- serving, drive-thru, cooking, dishwashing on top of a 50% capacity restriction for indoor dining and requirement to close by 11 p.m. Flowers said business hours are cut back, which means the money coming in is cut back.

“Everyone has kids they have to get to school, or they have to be at home because their kids are doing virtual schooling. Nobody can stay late, plus I think there’s the curfew,” she said.

Flowers said the staffing at Angelo’s dropped from 23 employees a year ago to just six now.

The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund through the Small Business Administration is being made available to bars and restaurants across the country like Angelo’s to help them get back on their feet financially and to make up for lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

Flowers already is working on that.

“I have a leak in the roof in the back cooler, so I need to get that fixed ASAP,” she said.

Flowers says business has started to pick up slightly, but even that comes at a cost to some degree.

“With more customers comes higher food costs, and then of course more gas and electricity, the air conditioning and some days the heat -- like this weather,” she said.

Over the next three weeks, the Small Business Administration will prioritize applications from small businesses owned by women and veterans, along with socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. After that, funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

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