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Hampton Roads businesses trying to tap into new Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The fund opened Monday and almost 200,000 businesses applied in the first two days. There is a $28.6 billion money pot to pull from.

NORFOLK, Va. — More money is up for grabs for small business owners in the food industry and it’s already in high demand.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund opened Monday and almost 200,000 businesses applied in the first two days. There is a $28.6 billion money pot to pull from.

This time around the focus is on specific types of business owners.

Hummingbird Macarons and Desserts owner Kisha Moore applied for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund first thing on Monday.

“These resources are helping us to stay open and continue to come out of the hole that we are in,” Moore said.

The pandemic hit right as Moore was moving her sweets to a new location. She applied for every grant possible but says a second PPP loan never came.

“These four months of just continuing without the PPP, and all my other colleagues who got it, I’m like, I don’t know what happened to us,” Moore said.

This time around, Moore has a leg up. The Small Business Association opened the process to women, veteran, and minority-owned businesses only, for the first 21 days.

“Everybody else who has submitted, their packages are in queue, but they will not be seen until the start of day 22,” said Hampton Roads Chamber Small Business Vice President Jim Carroll.

Carroll said businesses could get anywhere from $1,000 to $10 million.

“Each and every application has to be judged on its merits and then there will be a determination to how each of those applications is awarded,” Carroll said.

The money is for more than just restaurants. It can help a wide scope: bars, food trucks, bakeries, and more. The owners of Press 626 in Ghent said they applied too.

Carroll worries $28.6 billion won’t cut it.

“We have heard that the American Restaurant Association anticipates having a need of about $150 billion to meet all the needs of restaurants throughout the country,” Carroll said.

Back at Hummingbird, Moore said she’s hopeful for a lifeline, but said the community has helped keep her afloat.

“Our communities have certainly rallied around small businesses and been champions for what is going on,” Moore said. “Even in the midst of things that they are even dealing with.”

Carroll said it could take anywhere from 14 to 21 days to hear back from the SBA on if you will receive funds, and how much that will be.

The SBA should start reviewing all applications outside of the priority groups of women, veterans, and minority businesses on or about May 24.

Check out specifications for applying here.