TULSA, Okla. — Small businesses and non-profits received $30 million back in July to help with recovery due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, $20 million more of CARES Act funds were approved to help more small businesses and non-profits keep their doors open. It's all a part of the reset program with Tulsa County called, Resources to Empower Small Enterprises for Tomorrow.
2 Works for You spoke with County Commissioner Stan Sallee about these forgivable loans and grants helping small business owners, like Yara Amberg, keep their businesses open. He said it's keeping Oklahoma economy in the green.
“It has gotten to those businesses that didn’t have a choice, that we’re told to shut down. It’s impactful for them; it allows them to continue to pay their rent, help their insurance and fixed cost," Sallee said. "Their revenues have dropped considerably, so this has been helpful to those businesses.”
Amberg agreed, “For us, it means a lot, in the restaurant business, you don’t know what will happen. If we don’t have clients that feel comfortable enough to come and sit with us, then we won’t have business."
Commissioner Sallee said, 93 percent of the applications are approved for these funds, but the deadline is approaching. CLICK HERE to apply for funding.
Amberg is the owner of Oren Restaurant on Brookside near 35th and Peoria. She got approved for $75,000 for her small business.
Amberg said this help is the only reason she's still open today. “We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, and that’s the biggest problem,” Amberg said.
Amberg and her husband opened back in 2017, and weren't expecting the financial stress, three years into the restaurant business.
“We always wanted to have a restaurant, me and my husband, we are not from Tulsa originally, well, he is from here, and we lived in New York for many years. We knew we wanted to have a family and open our own business,” Amberg said.
But, coronavirus almost cost them everything. “This business, you just don’t know, every day is a new day. You just have to fight as much as you can and make it work. We are very grateful for our beautiful support, like our clients, that keep supporting us through hard times,” Amberg said.
Luckily, they've been able to move customers inside, keeping their business afloat, at least for now, but a new obstacle lies ahead.
“It’s hard to make it in this business with such a little amount of people," Amberg said. "So, if we can promise to our clientele that they can sit outside through the winter and through the cold. That’s really going to make us survive this.”
Staying open through the winter will be tough if customers only want to sit outside, it's why they are grateful they have so much support from the county and their local community.
“It’s a hard time and no one knows what is going to be next," Amberg said. “It just makes your heart warm to know that everybody around, our neighbors, the other restaurants, the landlord, everyone has really tried to support each other, as much as they can.”
For more on the Oren Restaurant, click here.
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