The challenges of the pandemic led many local business owners to apply for federal aid as a last resort.
“We didn’t know how long it was going to last,” said Tim Kelly, COO of Fisherman’s Market & Grill. “We didn’t know what was going on, we had to.”
Relief funds were limited and competition was stiff.
Newly released data shows hundreds of valley companies received loans and grants, some worth millions of dollars.
Companies such as the Fisherman’s Market and Grill say the money was a major help.
“It was a God send for us,” said Kelley. “It helped with our employees, and we can keep the doors open, other than that we were just coming into season, our busiest time of the year and it just got cut off.”
Through the paycheck protection program, more than 450 million dollars were distributed across the nine valley cities.
The money went to a variety of industries, including health care with DAP health receiving 2.7 Million Dollars.
“It allowed us to open a COVID clinic, to staff it with an infectious disease specialist, to test over 4,000 people and vaccinate over 4,500 people.”
Grants were also available through the restaurant revitalization fund (RRF).
Restaurants in Palm Springs received the most money through this program.
45 businesses took home over $26 million.
But the funds weren’t enough to get them back to pre-pandemic staffing levels.
“We had 186 at the height of the season last year. Right now we have 86, up from 17 at our lowest,” said Kelley.
According to the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, with these loans, about 30 percent of the valley’s small businesses did not survive the pandemic, leaving those who did make feeling fortunate.
“We’re just holding on and just doing the best we can,” said Kelley.