Small business loans handed out

Yesterday morning, Kelly Massey of the UWF Small Business Development Center presented to the Escambia County Commission the list of 50 businesses were awarded Escambia County Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grants.

In April 2020, Escambia County and the City of Pensacola, in partnership with FloridaWest EDA, the Greater Pensacola Chamber and the UWF Small Business Development Center, created the program to assist for-profit businesses located in Escambia County with their immediate cash flow needs as a result of a demonstrated economic injury due to COVID-19. The max grant reward is $2,500 per applicant or business.

Escambia County funded the grant with a contribution of $100,000 to a UWF Foundation Account. The City of Pensacola contributed an additional $25,000 for businesses within the city, with $12,500 from Mayor Grover Robinson’s discretionary fund and $12,500 from Pensacola  Councilman Andy Terhaar’s discretionary fund.

Recipients were categorized as follows:

  • Within Pensacola city limits – 48%
  • Minority Owned businesses – 29%
  • Businesses with 0-10 employees – 72%
  • Businesses with 11-20 employees – 28%

In Escambia County Commission districts, grants were distributed as follows, according to UWF SBDC

  • District 1 – 12.5%
  • District 2 – 20%
  • District 3 – 35%
  • District 4 – 17.5%
  • District 5 – 15%

The grant recipients were:

DISTRICT 1

  • Amanda’s Hair & Nail Salon
  • Ash Simmons
  • Write Away Engraving
  • In His Steps Christian Dance Studio
  • Sands Tech AV

DISTRICT 2

  • Gulf Coast Tattoos
  • Fusion Grill Inc.
  • Warrington Jewelers
  • Headhunter Hairstyling
  • Bauer Triple D’s Learning Complex Inc.
  •  Intermission
  •  The Islander Food Shack
  • ECRA PLLC

DISTRICT 3

  • Indigeaux Denim Bar & Boutique
  • Premier properties of America inc
  • Pensacola Battery Sales Inc
  • Chelsey Domschke Inc
  • I Heart Bento
  • Casks & Flights
  • Battery Buyers Inc.
  • Paint University
  • Snap Soccer
  • Boogie Inc.
  • Franzone Shu Repair
  • Vital Signs By Chip Spirson Inc
  • David Hewston’s Auto Repair
  • Razor’s Edge Fitness

DISTRICT 4

  • South Coast Audiology
  • SoBo Boutique
  • Advanced Amusements of NW FL
  • TT&Tim Inc.
  • The Magnolia
  • Advanced Mutual Promotions
  • Spanish Trail Pub

DISTRICT 5

  • Grandview Florist
  • Herbal Nails Spa At UWF
  • Lashes & Nails Bar
  • Bridal Suite
  • Cypress Bay Enterprises
  • Escape Lol

CITY OF PENSACOLA

  • Emerald Coast Dance Conservatory
  • New York Nicks
  • The Southern Creative
  • Bonelli’s
  • Salon on the Avenue by Danielle
  • Jolly Sailing
  • Play Pensacola
  • Carmen’s Lunch Bar
  • Sunshack
  • Fast Automotive
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1 thought on “Small business loans handed out

  1. Dear Rick, I was appalled at the brazen, orchestrated lack of transparency in this selection process and its ratification.

    This is not a statement on the awardees; this is a statement concerning Janice Gilley’s continual efforts to box the public out of knowledge of how their taxpayer dollars are being used.

    I sent the following email about it between the morning agenda review and the evening meeting. Ms. Gilley did send me the backup she had distributed to the dais that morning in advance of the evening meeting, along with instructions about where I could have found it on the website, if I had known where to look.

    Why weren’t these made available to the public as part of the agenda process?
    ————————————————————
    Covid-19 Discovery Grants

    Melissa Pino Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 12:53 PM
    To: District 5 Steven Barry , Lumon May , Jeff Bergosh , Robert Bender , Grover Robinson , Keith Wilkins , Andy Terhaar , ahaider@uwf.edu, sbdc@uwf.edu, Janice Gilley
    Cc: Alison Rogers , Alain Espinosa , Rick Outzen , Chorus Nylander , William Reynolds , Melissa Pino
    cc: Janice Gilley, Alison Rogers, and Alain Espinosa
    re: backup for CAR III.2

    Ms. Gilley,

    Even in the current context of rapidly decreasing transparency at the County, with less and less backup accessible online before every meeting, it is *astonishing* that of all backup, the winners for the covid19 small business grants were not listed in the backup.

    You distributed the backup to the dais at the very last minute, of course, before the discussion at this morning’s agenda review. Was that the first the commissioners had seen the winners also? Good thing that this happened to be the first Thursday of the month rather than the third.

    While I’m happy that Mr. Massey’s family is here, I hope that doesn’t mean that he won’t be available for questions at this evening’s meeting, given the importance of transparency on this subject. I wasn’t able to locate an email address for him online, and would appreciate someone forwarding it to him.

    Some of his answers today were shocking, such as him not being sure whether he had all the names of people who applied for grants in an accessible format, and his uncertainty how exactly those names were filed (although he *was* certain they were not on a spreadsheet). Then there was his statement that he “didn’t know if it was a good idea” to provide Commissioner May with a copy of all of the names of applicants not receiving a grant. (Yes, I’m well aware of the legal song and dance that always happens when anybody requests such information, and who can legally be privvy to it. I’ve sat grant committees.)

    Perhaps most disappointing, as usual the lead in dispensing taxpayer dollars for economic development could provide no data on how many minorities applied for or received a grant, instead pretending surprise that somebody would ask, per the typical m.o.

    Before any small business covid19 grant monies are voted on, it seems clear from the discussion this morning that the public should have certain knowledge of the following:

    1. Accounting on any and all monies that any entity or associate of UWF received as a result of administering this grant process.

    2. The complete list of all grant awardees.

    3. The data Commissioner May has asked for on minority applications for this grant.

    4. Any information on applicants not receiving a grant that is legal for public release,

    5.The map of awardees that was displayed at the morning agenda review, and

    6. Any other backup associated with this item.

    Chairman Barry and Commissioner May, I hope you will make certain that all of this information is made available and fully accessible to the public prior to a vote on these grants. No doubt you’ll be told that they have worked this to come up right against the deadline. If so, there’s always midnight oil.

    Sincerely,

    Melissa Pino

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