RICHMOND, Va. — The Metropolitan Business League (MBL) is working to provide grants to small businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic.
This week, the organization gave out more than $100,000 to 40 businesses in the Richmond area as part of their fourth round of the "We Care" Recovery Grant Program.
Tipsy Cupcakes in Carytown is one of the grant recipients. The Black-owned, woman-owned business specializes in alcohol-infused cupcakes, and had only been open a few months when the pandemic hit.
They were forced to close the inside of their shop and open a pick-up window.
Co-owners Mesha and Shay Cousins told CBS 6 when events like weddings and large celebrations were shut down, their business struggled, and they watched other shops around them have to close their doors for good.
"It was pretty difficult," Shay explained.
Now, two years into the pandemic, Tipsy Cupcakes is ready to open back up for customers indoors, but that’s going to require some renovations to make sure customers can remain socially distanced. They also need to hire staff.
The $2,500 grant they received from the MBL will allow them to do both.
"When your sales are already a little bit lower because of the pandemic, you know, other things that pop up may may kind of make or break it, so grants like this are just tremendous to have," said Mesha. "They usually come at the best time when you need them the most."
Tipsy Cupcakes now plans to open the inside of their store in March.
Over the past 18 months, the MBL has assisted more than 200 small businesses and given out more than $700,000 in grant money to help these shops stay afloat during the pandemic.