Native leisure companies ready for SBA grants

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – It has been more than two months since local entertainment establishments like Rec Room Buffalo applied for federal Shuttered Venue Operator’s Grant funds from the United States Small Business Association.

“Getting the money yesterday was still too late,” said Chris Ring, owner of Rec Room. “We really needed this money when the portal opened.”

The application process began in April.

“It’s just not fast enough,” he said. “Not getting the venues that needed the money most. I think you will see how many venues close for not seeing the money in time. “

Ring is also a representative of the National Independent Venue Association, which represents theaters and other entertainment companies waiting for money.

“They put on record that they hope to mark all members by July 4th, but their daily turnaround time doesn’t add up,” he said.

The SVOG program has $ 16 billion available for closed venues. Eligible applications could qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross receipts as of 2019. The maximum individual grant is $ 10 million.

According to the SBA, 1,445 scholarships have been granted out of 14,000 applications so far.

The North Park Theater in North Buffalo was just approved on Tuesday.

“We asked for $ 200,000 so we hope it’s on that scale,” said program director Ray Barker.

Barker says it is unclear how much North Park will actually receive in grants.

“Delayed discharge means that discharge will be denied,” said US Congressman Brian Higgins. Higgins says he wrote a letter to the SBA administration asking for answers about why these applications are taking so long to process.

“Many of these venues have very tight margins,” he said.

You can still apply for the SVOG program by clicking Here.