Tarrant County offering grants to struggling small businesses due to inflation, pandemic

The pandemic and now record-high inflation have dealt many small businesses a one-two punch in the fight to stay in operation.

In Tarrant County, a program is offering businesses that qualify the opportunity to have a fighting chance.

Tareka Lofton has been spreading joy with her icing spatula for years. She’s a gifted baker in business for five years now with Loft 22 Cakes and Pastries. She’s trying to keep her signature cakes coming out of the oven, but it’s been rough. 

"At a point, we had a larger staff," she said. "But because things are so slow right now, I let some go and haven’t been able to rehire right now because things are so slow."

Before the pandemic, there was a staff of eight. Now, it’s down to three.

"We are operating with the bare minimum with inflation cost of all our ingredients, heavy cream, butter, all of our ingredients we use, eggs, everything is so expensive," she said.

Lofton and small business owners like her throughout Tarrant County can once again apply for a helping hand. The county opened the application process for a grant to help businesses with 50 of fewer employees retain, rehire or recruit workers.

Lofton was ready and waiting for the county’s application portal to open Monday.

"I’m pretty hopeful we will be approved. We definitely met all the requirements," she said. "They did make it pretty simple. The application was not incredibly difficult, so I was grateful for that."

Maegan South with Tarrant County says the pandemic and tough economy are still hurting small businesses.

"These businesses are now having a lot of difficulty finding, retaining, paying their employees enough to be able to stay. So I think the idea behind this program was really to assist them in retaining that workforce," she said.

Lofton is hopeful for a sweet outcome.

APPLICATION PORTAL LINK: https://www.tarrantcounty.com/recovery