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Springfield, Ozark businesses share thoughts on Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 2:02 PM CST
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OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - Off of U.S. 65 in Ozark is a restaurant that takes you back in time.

“This is a World War II themed, kind of 1940s style themed diner,” said Cafe B-29 owner Chaz Koeppen.

When owner Chaz Koeppen started Cafe B-29, he had no idea three years later her business would be hurt by a global pandemic.

“It was horrible. Everyday was like a slow lunch. I tried to keep a few employees on but most of them went on unemployment,” said Koeppen.

She received funding from the Paycheck Protection Program which helped. There’s another round of funding called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund of $28.6 billion. It’s similar to the PPP. It will be run by the Small Business Association.

“I would be a liar if I wasn’t excited to have more opportunities to get more have funding. It’s definitely another safety net for my businesses ,” said restauranteur Clayton Baker.

Clayton Baker co-owns three businesses in Springfield, Civil Kitchen, Finnegans Wake and Tinga Tacos.

”Mind you it changes everyday. Even from now until the SBA gets a hold of it and decides what the guidelines are it can change again,” said Baker.

This funding has different tiers when restaurants are available to receive cash help. The first three weeks SBA will prioritize grants to female, veterans and minority owned restaurants. Along with $5 billion reserved for owners who made less than $500,000 in revenue for 2019.

“I think we’re all equal. We’re all here to put our boots on and get this country going again,” said Koeppen.

Baker says his business partner and wife are both minorities.

“They have to paint with broad strokes federally,” said Baker.

Koeppen said since the vaccine she’s noticed more people in her cafe and is not sure if she’ll apply.

“We feel like we’re holding our own. We’re going to do this without it,” said Koeppen.

Baker says the funding will be a safety net for his businesses.

“It may not be a perfect bill but let’s hope Springfield can benefit from it and come out of this pandemic better than we went in,” said Baker.

Click here for more information from the National Restaurant Association.

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