Supporting the growth of small business is at the forefront of American Express’ community backing. As part of the “Services that Back Us” Grant Program, in partnership with Main Street America, 75 U.S. small businesses in the personal service industry each received a $5,000 grant to help them grow and serve the daily lives of their customers and communities as they navigate through pandemic recovery.
According to a recent Small Business Recovery Report* by Kabbage from American Express, small businesses are seeing steady growth in average monthly revenues after two years of navigating pandemic challenges. However, small businesses are still adapting to other factors, including rising costs of supplies.
Here a few recipients share their plans for how they will use the grant to help grow and improve their small businesses:
Jamell McDowell, owner of Atlanta-based Purple Door Salon, is going to do some repairs, as she’s also the property owner. Bridgett Harrison, owner of Dallas-based Fad Kraze Hair Lounge, and Felicia Stokes, owner of New Jersey-based Luxurious Wellniss, say the grant is an opportunity to build their brands and make improvements to operations.
“After the last two years, it is a joy for me to be able to say that I’m still here and Purple Door Salon is still here. Today, I am thankful to American Express and Main Street America for supporting us with this grant which will allow us to invest in our physical space by upgrading our equipment and helping us through the next phase of our business,” says McDowell.
For Gilbert Pickett, owner of San Francisco-based hair salon, Salon Mio Mio, the grant will help his LGBTQIA+-owned business to make upgrades to make customers feel welcome – and do some advertising to attract candidates to fill open stylist roles.
“When the pandemic began, I was panicking because many grants were only available to businesses with employees but not for sole proprietors like me. This was one of the only grants I saw to be geared towards sole proprietors, but also for LGBTQ+ businesses like mine, so I am grateful to American Express and Main Street America for this opportunity. It has been a big relief for me,” says Pickett.
First and foremost for Meka Mathis, owner of Washington, D.C.-based Skin Beauty Bar, is new signage to attract more attention. “I plan to get a super, super big sign – with the budget for it made possible through the grant program American Express and Main Street America are providing!”
Jaime Romero, owner of Chicago-based barbershop VipCutz, has a similar thought. He might invest in camera equipment to create a stronger social media presence to engage with customers. “This grant is definitely going to help us go a long way,” he added.
Scott Doney, cobbler and owner of Tennessee-based James Shoe Hospital, said that for his business, he is focused on elevating his storefront for the community; he’d like them to see the magic that happens inside. “I love the back of the shop where the equipment is. All the equipment is from like 1930s, ‘40s, ‘50s – all old – and I like that it looks like that. I want it all to look like that because the front is very plain.”
For the full list of program receipents on the Main Street America website, click here: 75 Small Business Grants
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