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Some Wisconsin businesses still struggling to find relief funding

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 6:06 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2020 at 6:37 PM CST
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ORFORDVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - Governor Tony Evers just approved $45 million for small business owners in Wisconsin; but some storefronts could be left off that list.

“We could really use the money,” Food is Fuel LLC. Owner Diana Grenawalt said. “We aren’t eligible for a lot of grants because we are such a new business.”

It’s an Orfordville community hangout; a combination restaurant and convenience store, serving locally sourced products.

The store opened in July 2019. After a strong start, Grenawalt said sales are down 30% than predicted for this time of year.

“We have applied for a number of different grants and have been denied all of them,” Grenawalt said.

Tuesday morning, Gov. Evers announced about 2,000 businesses, mostly restaurants, will receive $20,000 by the end of the year.

“This is really a lifeline for a lot of restaurants,” Wisconsin Restaurant Assoc. Pres. and CEO Kristine Hillmer said; adding that any amount of financial support right now, helps.

“Ninety to 97 cents on every dollar goes out the door in terms of electricity and rent and staff costs and any overhead all expenses of a restaurant,” Hillmer said.

This grant money will go to businesses with annual revenues between $1 million and $7 million, which Food is Fuel LLC., once again, does not qualify for.

“We’re having meetings constantly to figure out what to do, it’s difficult as a small business startup phase to find all of the finances to do all of that,” Grenawalt said.

Grenawalt is optimistic that her business will make it to 2021. But she’d still like to see that opportunity for relief, so her young business can move forward.

“There are a lot of sleepless nights wondering, ‘are we going to continue to grow as we need to grow?” Grenawalt said.

In addition to recent grant money, there are still more proposals from lawmakers to fund small businesses. They just haven’t been approved yet.

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