Still Budaful funds still available for small business

The city of Buda is essentially giving free money to eligible businesses and these funds are still available.

Several weeks ago, Buda launched the Still Budaful small business stimulus grant consisting of $380,000. Businesses can get $2500 or $5000, which can be used to pay for rent/mortgage payments, employee support,
utilities, supply purchases for alternative business access, COVID-19 supplies and more. Although many businesses have applied, the city still has funds available for those who are eligible.

“Those monies have been earmarked,” said J.R. Gonzales, Buda Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “So let’s use it and we can stimulate the economy; we want to stimulate the economy.”

The task force will meet for the third time this week to push out the third wave of funds. If money is still available after the first phase, it might be time to widen the criteria parameters and qualifications for who can receive the grant, Gonzales said.

According to the State Comptroller’s office, about 400 businesses in Buda would be eligible for this grant. So far, a little over 100 businesses have applied and about 70 awards have been released totaling more than $300,000, said the Assistant City Manager, Lauren Middleton-Pratt. These grants come in different amounts, but Gonzales
estimates that it should cover between 85 to 90 businesses.

The application process is very straightforward and some businesses said it took very little time to fill out. The form is online, and for those who may not have internet access or computer skills, they can call the city and request a hard copy.

Even though money is available, why are some businesses not applying? It may be that some still do not know about it and some just do not need it, explained Gonzales. There are businesses that are not in direct contact with the city, or during their temporary closures, they are not checking their emails.

According to the city website, the task force developed the program to assist small Buda businesses that are independently owned and have 50 or fewer employees.

Amici Cucina Italiana is one of the businesses that secured a grant. Fabrizio Sarnacchiaro, executive chef, said the money helped tremendously, especially after having a drop in revenue. This food truck received its funds during the first wave of grants and said it will last a month, maybe two.

“We were a little worried what the future will hold,” Sarnacchiaro said, “but the grant coming through gave us breathing room.”

Water 2 Wine recently submitted its application. Co-owner Don Gottschalk said he believes they should get the grant. He plans to use the money to pay for rent and utilities.

Buda’s Red Door boutique received the grant within a week of applying. For this boutique, the inventory is seasonal; they need to update their winter months inventory to Spring and Summer. Nelda Montemayor said the money has been a blessing. It has helped her pay for rent which gave her room to buy some new inventory. Montemayor suggested that everyone take advantage of the grant because it has given her small business a little push.

Small businesses in Buda may be at an advantage with this grant. Surrounding cities have not presented their businesses with a stimulus program, but some cities and counties across Texas are catching on.

“I’m starting to hear some counties doing it,” Gonzales said, “but I’m very proud of the fact that Buda is in the forefront. The whole task force stepped up to the plate early, so at least in the region, Buda was one of the first as far as getting organized and getting the program going. It emphasizes the fact that Buda can be a business-friendly city.”

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