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Up to $50,000 available to Greater Peoria businesses affected by COVID-19

hacienda grou[.jpg
Hannah Alani
City leaders describe RISE grant funding on May 2, 2022. Left to right: Assistant City Manager Kimberly Richardson; Minority Business Development Center Board President Michelle Sanders; Greater Peoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Jim Montelongo; and Greater Peoria Economic Development Council CEO Chris Setti.

A new batch of government funding is up for grabs for Greater Peoria small businesses.

The Recovery, Income, Startup and Expansion program — also known as “RISE” grants — will offer up to $50,000 for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act. Assistant City Manager Kimberly Richardson hopes to see many applications.

"How many small businesses do we have in Peoria? I want every small business to apply," she said. "Our grants, in previous iterations ... we've seen over 100 applicants apply ... and we've given just as many ... grants and loans out."

While most qualifying businesses would be ones that were obviously affected by the pandemic — restaurants, salons, gyms, etc. — Richardson said some business owners may be eligible if their business is located in a low-income census tract.

"Or, if you as the owner may live in those census tracts, you may would qualify," she said.

Businesses can apply for RISE through June 10.

One business owner already has applied.

Julia Salvatierra Roca opened Hacienda El Mirador in Junction City in 2015. A native of Bolivia, Salvatierra Roca moved to Peoria 18 years ago. She met her husband, a native of Mexico, here.

With the exception of her Bolivian breakfast empanadas, most of Hacienda's recipes come from her husband's family. Salvatierra Roca hopes to open a new "Latin fusion" restaurant where she would incorporate more Bolivian recipes, but she's still recuperating from the financial challenges of pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions.

Julia Salvatierra Roca.jpg
Hannah Alani
Julia Salvatierra Roca is the owner of Hacienda el Mirador in Junction City.

For example, the restaurant invested in new technology to reduce the time servers spend with customers.

The 'square code' ... for that, you need a new POS system," she said. "A new code for the menus, too."

Salvatierra Roca applied for a RISE grant from the city. If awarded the money, she said she'd put some of the momey toward recouping those costs.

The restaurant owner credited the Peoria community for helping her business survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The people who I know in this area ... the people are very passionate, and very loving," she said.

Learn more about RISE grant funding and apply for a grant here.

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Hannah Alani is a reporter at WCBU. She joined the newsroom in 2021. She can be reached at hmalani@ilstu.edu.