ATLANTA - Sandtown Pub's sales dropped nearly 60 percent in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly a year later, owner Fredericka Jones says the South Fulton restaurant still isn't operating at full capacity.
"Super Bowl was a huge flop for us," said Jones. "We usually have all the tables full, the bars full, but not this year."
When the coronavirus pandemic hit back in March, several of dry cleaner Al Patel's customers began working from home.
"After the pandemic, we haven't been able to get over 40 percent of regular business," Patel said. "It's been difficult just, in general, to get customers in the door."
"We had to cut down our staff. We used to have 15 employees now we only have four," said Patel.
On Tuesday, Comcast Corporation announced the Comcast RISE Investment Fund is providing $5 million dollars in grants to hundreds of minority-owned small businesses in five cities nationwide, including $1 million dollars in Atlanta.
Comcast's Alex Horwitz says the global media and technology company hopes to help those hardest hit by COVID-19.
"We think the $10,000 to support these businesses will go a long way because you've got so many businesses that are really on the ropes and really need this kind of help," said Horwitz.
Beginning on March 1-14, eligible minority-owned small businesses in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties can apply for a $10,000 grant. One hundred recipients will be selected from the metro Atlanta area.
Jones says a $10,000 grant would provide some relief.
"You think about it, you are down 50 percent in sales and you get a $10,000 grant, that's going to boost different things in your store that you need to do, payroll, a lot of things, it helps a lot," he said.
In addition to the business grants, Comcast is investing in community organizations, like the Atlanta Business League, Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Atlanta MBDA Business Center at Georgia Tech, and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, that help minority businesses grow through training, mentorship and additional support. This multi-year investment exceeds $1 million in the Atlanta market and is intended to expand the capacity of these organizations to help minority-owned, and specifically, black-owned businesses thrive.
Those eligible can apply for a $10,000 grant at ComcastRISE.com.
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