As Atlanta businesses continue dealing with pandemic, city announces new round of grants

zak wallace andre dickens
With Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens looking on, Zak Wallace says a grant helped his small business survive during the pandemic. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

Zak Wallace runs Local Green Atlanta, a restaurant and food truck operation.

Earlier in the pandemic, he received a grant from the city. While it was meant to keep his business afloat, Wallace had bigger ideas.

“I told my team, we’re not going to sit on this money and wait for things to get better, let’s go after some new opportunities,” Wallace said.

So Wallace hired new staff, built up his operations and soon catering business started flooding in. Now, he’s poised to expand his restaurant beyond the city.

“I’m a believer in community, I’m a believer in what we do when we come together,” said Wallace. “I know nothing else.”

As uncertainty about the pandemic, rising prices and labor challenges continue to weigh on many small business owners in Atlanta, the city is offering another round of grants to help them recoup costs associated with Covid-19.

Many small businesses in Atlanta still need help meeting payroll, paying rent and providing protective equipment for employees.

That’s why Mayor Andre Dickens has announced $10.4 million from the American Rescue Plan is being used for more small businesses’ grants.

“Capital is necessary to continue to operate your business,” said Dickens. “And you get a challenge like a pandemic that you’ve never seen before and it starts to slow down your business and in some cases, it could threaten to stop your business.”

Dickens says entrepreneurs he’s talked to are eager to get back to normal. Eloisa Klementich with Invest Atlanta says that’s been easier for some than others.

 “Jeez, we’ve seen about 20% of our businesses are still lagging behind, we have to get everybody back, post-Covid,” Klementich said.

The Resurgence Grants, as they’re called, can cover certain expenses going back one year. Small businesses and non-profits can start applying March 1.