North Texas business owners discuss how they've stayed open during COVID-19 pandemic

Local businesses are sharing their experiences of trying to stay open during the pandemic with federal officials and members of Congress.

Many business owners said federal funding, like the Paycheck Protection Program and Restaurant Revitalization Fund helped keep them open.

Friday, they made an appeal to the Small Business Administration and members of Congress on how crucial continuing this funding is. 

Alamo Club in Lower Greenville is celebrating its three-year anniversary this month.

"The unknown, I think, is probably the hardest part," said Garrett Myer, co-owner of the Alamo Club.

But at times, during the pandemic, the owners weren’t sure they’d make it. 

"Total, all in all, we opened and closed four different times, and some of that was it wasn’t worth running the business. We were losing more than we were making," said Austin Rodgers, co-owner of the Alamo Club.

The owners were able to get two rounds of Paycheck Protection Program funds to help pay staff and keep the doors open.

"They kept those people in their homes, kept paying their rent, paying their gas, paying their electricity. Those were absolutely huge," Rodgers said.

Friday, Congressman Colin Allred toured Lower Greenville businesses with the Small Business Administration to see their immediate needs.

Business owners shared their current challenges with labor shortages and inflation, with some costs more than tripling.

"We know we’re still working through that and we want to continue supporting our restaurants and our small businesses, so we’re still going to be there for them, we’re not done with that effort," Rep. Allred said.

The SBA said other federal programs, like the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, helped save 101,000 restaurants across the country, including more than 2,000 in the Metroplex.

"The SBA has put out $34 billion in relief just in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," said Isabella Guzman, with the Small Business Administration. "That sizable impact is made possible in the types of businesses we’ve been able to meet has been made possible by the partnerships on the ground."

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Also on the SBA’s stop through North Texas, Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne hosted a roundtable to hear from builders and other businesses.

"Overwhelmingly, the number one issue we hear from our small business employers are labor shortages and trying to get people back to work, looking at training programs," Rep. Van Duyne said. 

Businesses stressed that, even two years into the pandemic, the recovery is not done.

"There still are holes, there still are people that need help," Rodgers said.

The SBA said there are still other lending programs to help small businesses stay open, and encourage business owners to reach out to them for help.