Stuggling Cobb County businesses given a lifeline in the nick of time

Hundreds of small businesses received some much needed financial assistance as they try to stay afloat during the pandemic. They were awarded grants by Cobb County in partnership with SelectCobb, a Cobb Chamber initiative.

Deborah Johnson, the owner of Express Beauty Bar Atlanta, said the money helped save her business.

"I've been on this street 30 years doing hair," said Johnson.

Like all salons, when the state shut down, Johnson was forced to close up shop for eight weeks. Even after she was allowed to reopen, clients were reluctant to come back.

"A lot of my clients are 50-plus, they're afraid to leave their home," said Johnson.

Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts

She watched as her business slowly went down the drain.

"I was actually thinking about closing. When they came up with the grant I figured I'd give it another shot," said Johnson.

Johnson was one of 409 businesses awarded grants through SelectCobb. The Cobb County Chamber initiative partnered with Cobb County to award $7.5 million in grants to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Johnson said the money can when she needed it most.

"Right on time, right on time," said Johnson.

Veterinarian Dr. Mitzi Schepps also received a grant. Dr. Schepps owns Wellness Waggin' Acupuncture.

Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.

"I'm a small animal veterinarian, I provide mobile acupuncture and laser service in peoples homes," said Dr. Schepps.

During the shelter at home, Dr. Schepps said it was no longer safe to go into homes. Her business shut down for months. Now she sees patients only outdoors or in a garage. She said it's not ideal, but it's something. She said she doesn't know if her business would have survived without the grant.

"It has saved me. It was a desperate time, not earning any money, going from a thriving business to nothing," said Dr. Schepps.

Cobb County Commission Chairman Mike Boyce said many others are still struggling. He said there will be another round of grants.

"More than 2,500 people applied for the grants. We realized there's still a lot of hurt out there. I know we're going to have a lot more people that we're going to consider over this next month," said Boyce.

The application deadline for the second round of grants is 5 p.m. on August 21. Eligible businesses can receive between $20,000 and $40,000. Interested businesses can find more information, criteria, and eligibility requirements at