LUBBOCK, Texas — Rangel’s Mexican cuisine was born at a time when too many other local joints were dying.
The small, family-run restaurant opened in June 2020, welcoming its first customers behind masks and plexiglass and playing against emerging COVID cases and closures.
The family said taking the risk was all they could do, but they are still working to recoup their initial six-figure investment.
“It was either…not getting paid or opening up and taking the risk,” said Ashley Torres, who works at the restaurant with her family. “We had to get plexiglass and hand sanitizer and make sure everyone was wearing masks. It was really tough…we didn’t even break even at the end of the year. It was a big loss. »
That’s why Rangel joined more than a hundred other small business owners and nonprofits at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce’s U.S. bailout briefing on Monday.
Lubbock County has set aside $10 million to give to organizations that have lost revenue due to the pandemic. The tax-free grants come from the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, signed into law in March 2021. The bill sent Lubbock County more than $60 million for pandemic relief , including $10 million the county offered directly to local business citizens through an open application.
“It’s a great program, it’s free money,” said Davis Odorizzi, an analyst at Local CFO, with whom the county has committed to disburse the money. “We’re just trying to get as many people as possible to apply. It’s money that sits there, it’s going to be distributed anyway, so the more the better. If you own a small business or non-profit organization, we strongly encourage you to apply. »
Odorizzi said about 170 small businesses and about 40 nonprofits have already applied, and he expects that number to grow over the next three weeks.
“Think about it – we’ve been closed for a long time, so that’s a lot of lost revenue,” said Kay McDowell, CEO of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. “It’s hard to bounce back from that. It’s hard to win back those customers that might have been patronizing your restaurant or your retail store.”
Each entity is eligible for up to $50,000. The value of each grant is calculated based on lost revenue, PPE expenses, utility costs, and payroll costs. Any previous COVID aid is deducted from this total.
To qualify, a small business or nonprofit organization must have fewer than 100 employees and an address in Lubbock County. Applicants will need to provide an EIN number, but do not need a business license.
Until then, local family businesses say Lubbock residents can continue to support them. Rangel’s Mexican Food is located at 34th and Vicksburg and is open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They serve breakfast all day.
“If you like a good breakfast burrito, we’ve got you,” Torres said.