The City of Charlotte is awarding $4 million in grants to local food service businesses impacted by Covid-19

The City of Charlotte is awarding $4 million in grants to local food service businesses impacted by Covid-19
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This content was created in partnership with the City of Charlotte


2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the Charlotte community hard. Among some of the hardest hit have been local food service businesses.

These are the places that make Charlotte great. They’re your favorite spots to grab lunch in the middle of the workday and the bars you used to head to for a night out with friends. They’re the coffee shops you’d camp out in to hit a deadline or the food trucks where you’d grab a lowkey dinner with your family. They’re the venues where you saw your favorite artists performing live and the bakeries that made your family birthday cakes.

With no clear end in sight, it’s important that we continue supporting Charlotte food service businesses in ways big and small. Those small ways, like leaving a great review or picking up takeout on a random night, can help. But what these businesses need is enough money to pay the bills and their employees.

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That’s where the Food Service Recovery Grant program comes in. Through it, the City of Charlotte will distribute $4 million in grants to local restaurants, bars, food trucks, caterers, and music venues.

Grants will be awarded in the amount of $10,000 for businesses with five or fewer employees, and $25,000 for businesses with six or more employees.

One of the best parts – we’re talking about grants, not loans; businesses won’t have to pay back the money they receive. For small businesses hurt financially by Covid-19, receiving one of these grants could be the difference between “closed for now” and “closed for good.”

How it works

The $4 million comes from federal CARES Act funding, which the City of Charlotte (and their grantmaking partner, the Foundation for the Carolinas) will award to restaurants, bars, food trucks, caterers, and music venues located within the city limits of Charlotte.

Applications are open now until October 19 at noon, or until all funds have been distributed (whichever comes first). They are being reviewed on a rolling basis and grants will be awarded every two weeks until mid-November.

Business owners can apply for a grant online using a W-9 and other documentation (like a W-3 if your business has more than five employees). The application will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Nepali, and Vietnamese.

If a business is awarded a grant, they’ll get an email confirmation and a check in the mail. Then, they’ll be asked to document how the funds were used in November or October. The business will also be issued a Form 1099-MISC, which an accountant or tax advisor can look at to determine whether the grant is taxable.

Who’s eligible for a grant?

One thing to note is that businesses that received a grant through the Small Business Recovery Grant program (applications now closed) are NOT eligible to apply for this program. Eligible businesses that applied for that program but did not receive a grant will automatically be considered for the Food Service Recovery Grant program and do not need to reapply.

Other than that, here are the requirements:
• Open to restaurants, bars, food trucks, caterers, and music venues.
• Business must be located within the city limits of Charlotte, NC.
• Business must have been conducting business before January 1, 2020.
• Applicants cannot currently be engaged in bankruptcy proceedings.
• Nonprofits, liquor stores, and adult entertainment establishments are not eligible. Franchises within city limits are eligible.
• Your business must be included in the Mecklenburg County database as having paid the Food and Beverage Tax in 2019, as well as having submitted this form to the County in August or September of 2020, even if the submission shows $0 revenue.

If an applicant’s property is listed in Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s Nuisance Abatement Program, the City reserves the right to decline to issue a grant, following a review of calls for service to CMPD in connection with such property.

I’m a local business owner. How do I apply?

You can apply online until October 19 at noon, unless funds run out before then (in other words, apply ASAP). The application is straightforward and begins with a list of pre-qualification questions.

Once you submit, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Then, you’ll have to wait until a second email comes in, which will let you know if you’ve received a grant or not. There’s no way to check on the status of your application beyond confirming that it was received.

The grants awarded through the Food Service Recovery Grant Program are first-come, first-served. The city expects about 350 businesses to receive funding.

If you want to learn more about the program or apply for a grant for your own business, check out CharlotteOpenForBusiness.com


This content was created in partnership with the City of Charlotte. Featured image is of Haberdish. 

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