New grant aims to reimburse small businesses for pandemic costs

HUMBOLDT, Tenn. — If you’re a small business owner, you’ve more than likely felt the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Fewer people are coming because a lot of people are afraid or staying home on purpose,” said Bob Little, shift leader at The Coffee Shop.

It’s a combination of spending more on supplies, like plexiglass, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. And like Little says, seeing less revenue come through your business.

“It costs a lot of money, and that’s exactly what this SERG program is for,” said Monique Merriweather, director of the Small Business Development Center.

Merriweather told us about the SERG program, which stands for Supplemental Employer Recovery Grant.

You read that right — grant — so you don’t have to pay it back.

“Everyone should apply for this,” Merriweather said. “Every small business.”

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It’ll reimburse you for direct expenses related to the pandemic, like personal protective equipement, contactless equipement and payroll expenses.

“It’s on the same lines as the business relief program that we had prior that ended back in September,” Merriweather said. “You still have to meet those certain guidelines, make $10 million or less, and have a loss of 25% in your revenue. The cap on this is $30,000.”

But whatever money you’re able to get from this will hopefully lessen the financial impact.

“Any monies injected into our small businesses would definitely help,” Merriweather said.

And at least for The Coffee Shop in Humboldt, make the brew a little stronger.

“The things we do are required to keep people safe,” Little said. “Ultimately it boils down to that.”

You can apply for the grant on the state’s website by clicking here.

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