On Friday afternoon, Loudoun Economic Development completed the random selections for more than 200 COVID-19 Business Interruption Fund grants, totaling nearly $1.4 million.
The fund was created by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors on April 21, and started with $1.15 million diverted from business incentive funding. The Loudoun Economic Development Authority added $250,000 to aid dozens of more businesses.
The grants, which range between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on the number of employees, will be dispersed to businesses starting next week. Funding will reach all corners of Loudoun County and help support business operations across a wide swath of Loudoun’s industries.
A full list of grant recipients can be found at LoudounBusinessFund.org.
“This process provided new insight into the economic devastation that COVID-19 has had on thousands of Loudoun County businesses. This grant funding is just one piece of the puzzle for Loudoun’s recovery, and we look forward to working with all businesses moving forward,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said. “We applaud the decisions of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and Economic Development Authority to invest in #LoudounPossible businesses, jobs and our economic future.”
The Business Interruption Fund required all applicants to document and demonstrate less than $2.5 million in annual revenue, at least a 25% loss in revenue that can be attributed to COVID-19, and that businesses be appropriately licensed and operational in Loudoun County.
The fund had three different tranches, geared at Loudoun Made Loudoun Grown agricultural business with 0-2 employees, businesses with 3-50 employees or home-based businesses with 3-100 employees, and businesses with 51-100 employees.
Based on the number of submissions, all eligible businesses in the first and third tiers were funded, and any remaining money was shifted to the tranche with 3-50 employees. This increased the initial estimate of 177 grants to 201 total grants.
All applicants will be contacted in the next 24 hours to confirm their application status and provide additional resources. A full list of grant recipients can be found at LoudounBusinessFund.org.
Grant Spotlight: Beltway Brewing Company
One such recipient was Sterling-based Beltway Brewing Company. Beltway is primarily a contract brewing business, dependent on brewers to produce beer for retail and distribution. As demand for draft beer has sharply dropped with the closure of bars and restaurants, so has their business.
Beltway, like many businesses, has pivoted during the health crisis, manufacturing hand sanitizer and collaborating with other breweries to raise money for those affected by the pandemic. This funding will help keep the doors open as Virginia eyes the first phase of reopening.
“In a time of great uncertainty for how our brewery will adapt and survive through this pandemic, receiving this grant from the county makes a huge difference,” Beltway Brewing President Sten Sellier explained. “We are able to invest it in raw materials and marketing towards innovative ways to keep our staff manufacturing in this environment. Thank you!”
Grant Spotlight: Car Clinic Virginia, Inc.
Another recipient was Car Clinic Virginia, Inc., a full-service mechanic and auto body shop in Loudoun County. At a time when fewer people are driving for work or social obligations, Sunny Raheja and his team are adapting to a new normal with far less business than usual.
“Standing by the belief that we are in this together and we will prevail together, we are astounded by the leadership of Loudoun County,” Raheja said. “To understand the pain small businesses are in and the proactive introduction of a grant to support the small business community is truly leading by example for other counties and local government.
Raheja plans to use the grant funding to invest in his workforce, allowing him to bridge the gap he would have faced in payroll.
“The grant from Loudoun County is pivotal to us. It ensures our headcount is maintained, and that the extended families of our staff and customers are being taken care of,” he explained. “Obtaining uninterrupted payrolls helps us all to get through his hardship.”
Grant Spotlight: Woofie’s
Woofie’s is another Loudoun-grown success story, turning a mobile pet care services business into a successful franchise model–until COVID-19 made their services impossible.
Owner Amy Reed has worked hard to pivot the company’s services to respect social distancing and no-contact preferences of customers, but it has come at a cost to the business.
“In over 15 years of operating Woofie’s in our hometown of Ashburn, we have never had to face the hurdles that we are currently enduring with the Covid-19 crisis,” she said. “Our revenues have been significantly impacted, longtime team members have been furloughed and our operating expenses are piling up.
“This grant will help us tremendously as we work to get past these struggles and re-emerge as an even stronger member of the Loudoun business community. We are so honored and incredibly grateful to be a recipient of the COVID-19 Business Interruption Fund grant from Loudoun Economic Development. On behalf of the entire Woofie’s team: thank you!”