Local Help: City’s Small Business Relief Fund Helps Eastie Businesses Forgotten by Federal Bailout

By now it’s common knowledge that the $650 billion federal relief package intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, like those that are located in Eastie and are the backbone of the community, ran out of money in 14 days back in April.

This left many of Eastie’s shuttered mom and pop operations without a lifeline while larger corporations and chain stores across the United States swallowed up the money.

After the federal money was gone, East Boston Main Streets conducted and found that among 105 Latino-owned businesses in the neighborhood, only five had been awarded a loan under the first round of the federal relief package.

“It hurts me to say this,” EBMS Director Gladys Oliveros told WBUR. “All the hairdressers, all the barbershops, the photography studios, the clothing stores. None of them has been able to get bailout money, nor will they.”

Oliveros told WBUR that many of the small Eastie businesses did not have accounting in order, which put them at a big disadvantage against small businesses with as many as 500 employees — the maximum number allowed under the program.

Second, when one or more owners of an Eastie business are undocumented the government isn’t allowing them to receive bailout money.

“The shops here in East Boston are the heart of the neighborhood,” Oliveros said. “That is the source of life for all of us, where we buy our daily food.”

However, where the federal relief package failed, the City of Boston Small Business Relief Fund has succeeded.

In Eastie 40 small businesses received funding through the city’s Small Business Relief Fund, which kicked off with an initial funding dedication of $2 million (see list).

The funding helped a wide range of Eastie businesses from restaurants to bars to nail and hair saloons to cafes to dance studios to yoga studios.

“The Small Business Relief Fund grants are critical to help struggling small businesses across the city address challenges brought on by COVID-19,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “These businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the lifeblood of our communities. I’m proud we are able to assist them during this time, and am grateful to our partners who have stepped up in a big way to support Boston’s neighborhood business community.” 

Walsh said in the City of Boston 58 percent of the businesses receiving grants are owned by people of color, 48 percent are owned by women, 44 percent are owned by immigrants.

Unlike the federal relief program Mayor Walsh said 95 percent of the city funding went to businesses with 15 or fewer employees.

“The top 10 zip codes with the most recipients included East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Brighton, South End, Dorchester, Roslindale, and Roxbury,” he said.

An additional $5.5 million in funding is being added to fully fund all eligible grant requests that were submitted during the application process, which combines newly available federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development; as well as commitments from Citizens Bank and Eastern Bank.

The Eastie businesses that received Small Business Relief Funds are:

3D Painting Company

All My World, INC

Amazing Eyebrow Threading

Americano Espresso Bar

Beverly Richards Dance Center

Biddy Hair Salon

Bohemios Restaurant

Boston Amici Group d/b/a Pazza On POrter

Boston Cleaning Cooperative

Cactus Mexican Grill LLC

Carlos Leon Studio Salon

Chinese Dragon

CrossFit Jeffries Point

Didi’s Spa

DJ Petro Entertainment

East Boston Barre & Yoga

Eastiewalks LLC

Frankie’s Cleaners

Gibney Travel Inc

House of Nails

Inner Harbor Jewelers

La Cancun Restaurant

La Chiva Restaurant

La Esperanza Market

Lily Beauty Enterprise, Inc.

Little Asia Restaurant

Little Steps

Mariona Lloreta

Mexicali Sushi Bar

Naimah Allateef DBA Babbling Brook Family Tutoring Service

Parlor Skis LLC

Petalos Floristeria Corporation

Pollos a la Brasa Betos

Rincon Limeno Restaurant Inc

Root and Sky Wellness

Salon 321

Taqueria Jalisco

Teeson Reps LLC

Walloons LLC Catering by Nelson Sanchez

Wave n Pave

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