June 2021 Business Spotlight
Small Businesses Granted Dollars During Trying Times
On October 28, 2020, the City approved $600,000 in grant funds for the Miami Beach Emergency Small Business Grant Program to assist small businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program launched on January 6, 2021, with the City conducting outreach to encourage eligible small businesses and microenterprises to apply for grants of up to $20,000 for rent, mortgage, utilities, payroll, operating supplies, and COVID-19 related expenses.
The program aims to assist with business retention and create jobs for local residents. To date, the program has provided relief to 15 small businesses and has supported the employment of 10 Miami Beach residents.
At least 30 businesses will receive assistance under the program, and there is still time to apply.
Nailed Salon Keeps Doors Open with Grant Funds
“Truly, without this program, I don’t think we would have been able to keep our business alive,” said Aspasia Pappa, owner of Nailed, a nail salon in the MXE District of Miami Beach. Given the nature of her business, a high touch industry, Aspasia’s biggest challenge is to make sure clients feel comfortable walking through her doors.
With the help of the grant program, Aspasia was able to ensure she found immediate financial relief for her business as well as guarantee she had all the necessary personal protective equipment to provide her clients a safe and enjoyable experience.
Community Spirit Abounds at Abbott Florist
Abbott Florist, a family-owned floral shop and mainstay in the North Beach community, knows all too well about the struggles of operating a business predicated on face-to-face interaction. Established in 1990, Raul Encio and his daughter Romina Orozco-Encio stated the hardest part of operating a business during a pandemic was the fact that there was no tourist traffic in Miami Beach, one of the driving forces behind calling Miami Beach home.
“We decided to start a business in Miami Beach because of its family-oriented community, cultural diversity, and popularity as a tourist destination. A neighborhood filled with hotels, resorts, and event venues is perfect for our type of industry,” stated Romina.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Abbott Florist saw an 80% decrease in revenue.
“The biggest challenge was keeping our store open and functioning. We had eleven events booked from March through October 2020, for which we needed to issue full refunds to our clients. We rely heavily on weddings and corporate events, so not having that revenue was devastating to our operation,” said Romina.
With the help of the City’s Emergency Small Business Expense Reimbursement Grant Program, Raul and his family were able to receive $20,000 to reimburse business expenses as a bridge to keep the shop afloat until peak season returned.
“Now that the City has transitioned into reopening, graduations, weddings, and other social events are back, business has picked right back up. This program was the best thing to happen to us during the pandemic as it bought us time, and for that we are extremely grateful to the City of Miami Beach and the Economic Development Department,” said Romina.
When asked what advice would they give to local Miami Beach businesses interested in applying? “Don’t let the application process intimidate you! This is hands down the best program out there for our local small business community, but most importantly, the people behind it are the kindest, most diligent and helpful around,” uttered a thankful Aspasia.
The grant is currently being administered and awarded on a first-come, first-qualified, first-served basis through an online application. To qualify, business owners must either earn low-moderate income or must employ and retain a low-moderate income Miami Beach resident.
Business owners looking to apply should visit miamibeachfl.gosmart.org to review program guidelines and login or create a new profile to preview the application. The application will remain open until July 31, 2021.
Eligible small businesses are encouraged to apply now – don’t miss a chance to receive this great benefit for Miami Beach businesses!
If local small business owners need assistance with the application process or have questions about the program, please contact Michael Rivera with the Economic Development Department at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.