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Union County announces funding for small businesses

Officials in Union County announced Thursday that more than $2 million in grant money is available for small businesses.

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Some relief could be coming for small businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Union County.

Many businesses and nonprofits have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes Pizza Phi, a popular restaurant in downtown Lewisburg.

"Our lunch business has dropped a lot, like 70, 80 percent. Our dinner service has dropped down because nobody is really allowed to come in, and a lot of people are scared to come in," said Rick Thomas, owner of Pizza Phi.

Officials in Union County announced a program they believe can help—$2.5 million in grant money available for small businesses and nonprofits through the Union County Cares Small Business/Nonprofit Recovery & Sustainability Fund.

Businesses and nonprofits can get up to $15,000 each.

"We could absolutely use the help. We've seen a huge increase in our cheese price, so making pizzas all day has gotten a lot more expensive to make. This grant money could help us not have to raise our prices," said Thomas.

Leslie Stewart, the general manager at Oakwood Smokehouse, is in the same boat. Meat prices have gone up, too.

"That would be spectacular. It would be such a help to us right now."

"Right now, we're going through and trying to shop around at multiple different places, trying to get the best, but we're trying to keep it with local places," said John Troutman, chef at Oakwood Smokehouse.

"These added challenges have made it harder than it would normally be for any new business, so we are struggling, but we're really dedicated. We really believe that it's going to work out," Stewart added.

Businesses must apply for the money by August 20 and spend it by the end of this year. Get more information here.