Fifty-five Skagit County restaurants received pandemic relief grants totaling about $11.2 million from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund, according to a Skagit Valley Herald analysis of data from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The SBA’s data, which shows the businesses that received funds and how much they received, was released this month following a Freedom of Information Act request.
The grant program, funded by the American Rescue Plan that was passed by Congress in March, was designed to bring economic aid to hard-hit restaurants. It opened for applications on May 3 and closed on July 2.
As of June 30, the program had distributed $28.6 billion in grants to more than 100,000 restaurants nationwide, according to the SBA.
About 3,200 Washington restaurants received grants totaling about $921 million.
Not all who applied received funds. A total of 278,000 eligible applicants requested $72.2 billion, and the SBA was able to grant about 40% of requested funds.
The program promised restaurants grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses up to $10 million per business. The grants could be used for rent and mortgage, utilities, payroll, supply costs and more. Recipients must use funds by March 11, 2023.
Those who could apply included restaurants, food stands and food trucks, caterers, bars and taverns, and bakeries, breweries, distilleries and wineries with onsite sales to the public comprising at least a third of gross receipts.
Skagit County restaurants won grants ranging from $1.3 million to about $6,200, according to the Herald’s analysis.
Four Season Buffet LLC, in Burlington, won the largest grant of about $1.3 million, according to the data.
The next largest grant went to Calico Cupboard in Mount Vernon, which received $867,169. The Farmhouse Restaurant west of Burlington received $851,882, the third largest grant.
The average grant received by a Skagit business was $203,666.
There were 14 recipients in Anacortes, six in Bow, nine in Burlington, one in Clear Lake, one in Conway, three in La Conner, 17 in Mount Vernon, and four in Sedro-Woolley, according to the data. No businesses east of Sedro-Woolley received grants.
For the first three weeks of the program, the SBA prioritized review of applications submitted by businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. After that, eligible applications were reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The SBA defines socially disadvantaged individuals as those who have been subjected to “racial or ethnic or cultural prejudice because of their identity as a member of a group,” and economically disadvantaged individuals as those “whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities.”
About 29% of grant recipients from Skagit County indicated they were socially or economically disadvantaged, according to the data.
Women-owned businesses made up about half of the 55 grant recipients, and veteran-owned businesses 16%.