RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - If you are a small business in the area struggling in this pandemic, there is a grant available to help you keep the lights on.
It’s through Dominion Energy and it could help you pay your energy bill.
Six years into owning her restaurant, Chef Michele Wilson knows a thing or two about cooking the perfect burger.
“The one time you know to turn the burger is when it’s easy to turn. If it’s not easy to turn leave it there,” Wilson said.
Wilson used to be a mortgage loan underwriter before cooking up a change of life plans.
Deciding to venture into the restaurant industry, she opened Ma Michele’s Cafe in Chesterfield. “For family gatherings, we cooked, we laughed, we loved. So, foods always spend an extension of love for me,” Wilson said.
She opened the business with family recipes and never thought she’d have to turn her popular dine-in cafe with a side catering business into a “take out only” establishment. “We took a big hit. Initially probably around 50% and if not more. We were recovered some, but not near as much,” Wilson said.
So, when she found out about Dominion’s small business EnergyShare Relief Program she didn’t hesitate to apply. She qualified for a thousand dollars. “It goes straight to the electric bill and that helped out tremendously,” Wilson said.
Dominion partnered with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to temporarily expand its EnergyShare program. Qualified small businesses, non-profits and houses of worship in Dominion’s service territory may be eligible for the one-time assistance with their Dominion electric bill of up to $1,000 bucks.
The program funding is covered by shareholders and does not impact customer rates. So far, Dominion’s assisted about 250 businesses with an average award of $642.
Ma Michele loves to support local artists. From the artwork featured on the walls of the restaurant to the local music acts that used to play inside the restaurant.
To combat the pandemic, she created a once-a-month parking lot pull-up, which helps bring music back to her corner of Midlothian.
She says in a world where every small business has had to pivot, every little bit you can give and get back helps.
“It’s easy to move or change the direction of a moving ship than it is to have one that’s docked. So, in other words, just keep grinding. Keep doing. Keep moving until it changes,” Wilson said.
The energy share relief program runs until the funds are exhausted. Here is a link to learn more about the program.
This is also where you can find out more details on what makes a business eligible.
Applications are available on the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s website.
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