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Springfield ARPA funds give back to local minority-serving businesses

9 small businesses and 13 non-profit organizations that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are set to receive the federal money.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 10:20 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Small businesses in Springfield will soon be getting some much needed help. Mayor Domenic Sarno announced the third round of funding awards from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, Tuesday.

9 small businesses and 13 non-profit organizations that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are set to receive the federal money.

The city received nearly $124 million in ARPA funding as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Officials told us that money is set to be given out over the next three years, and businesses we spoke with said that they are grateful for the much-needed help.

“It’s really an answer to our prayers, for sure,” said David Coon, logistics manager at Hot Oven Cookies.

This round of funds totals more than $3 million. Businesses told us that they have really struggled throughout the pandemic.

“It really impacted us over the last couple years, you know, taking money from your own savings that you wanted to invest in other things that you have to put on the back burner because you want to keep your business up and running,” Clarence Smith, owner of The Final Touch Barber Shop.

The Final Touch Barber Shop is just one of the nine minority-serving small businesses on the list. They are set to receive $60,000.

Other businesses include Howard Motors of Springfield and Hot Oven Cookies.

City Councilor Tim Allen is on the city’s finance committee. He said that he is happy to see these businesses getting the help they need.

“COVID certainly affected everybody. It affected minority communities even more so,” he said. “We had to pay attention to all groups from across the city, and I’m glad we got a good start on that today.”

All the businesses told us they will be putting this funding to good use.

“This will give me an opportunity to increase my investory, invest in some technology,” said Patrick White, owner of Howard Motors.

“Opening more stores, hiring people, advertising,” David Coon added.

“We need more ovens, our cookie truck, we were supposed to be pouring into her,” said Sheila Coon, the creator of Hot Oven Cookies.

White said that it is important to see these funds going to minority-owned businesses, and it will allow them to continue to serve the community.

“It just provides an opportunity for those to stay within the community and pretty much invest in the community at our local businesses that are in the area,” he told us.

Councilor Allen said there is going to be a focus on neighborhood projects and restaurants in the next round of funding.

If you have been impacted, whether you are a household or business, you are encouraged to fill out an application.