MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The pandemic has has a big impact on small businesses in the valley, some are still struggling nearly two years later. The City of McAllen is looking to help small businesses once again with the Small Business Support Fund.

The same fund was launched last year during the height of the pandemic. This time $4,000,000 have been set aside to help business that is still trying to recover from COVID-19 losses.

Valley Central visited some local businesses that applied for the fund the first time. The owner tells us they have been slowly able to recover but they are not there just yet.

“We’re just kind of learning how to live with this pandemic you know because obviously, it’s not going away,” said Randy Helmcamp.

Helmcamp has owned and operated Fiesta Cleaners in McAllen for the last 27 years. The pandemic hit Helmcamp’s business hard, so he applied for the Small Business Support Fund last year.

“Every little bit counts and contributes to making your business continue to be solvent but also able to continue to be able to maintain your employees,” Helmcamp said.

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce tells ValleyCentral the amount of money each business will get will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

A business that applies must meet the following qualifications:

• Have a brick-and-mortar location within the city limits of McAllen, Texas, or be a valid home-based business. A valid home-based business should present a Home Occupation Permit issued prior to March 1, 2020.

• Must be an active business that was established in McAllen before March 1, 2020 

• Gross annual revenues for 2020 must be $3,000,000 or less 

• Must be able to demonstrate that business was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with at least a 20% decline in gross receipts for the year (2019 – 2020). The only valid documentation to demonstrate this would be tax returns. 

• A small business as considered by the city of McAllen

• Businesses with more than one physical location may apply for the grant program for one location only 

• Owners with multiple businesses, even if the businesses are constituted through different entities, are eligible to apply for only one business.

• The business must be in compliance with all taxes and regulations with the City of McAllen 

“Depending on your level of gross receipts we have three levels of funding,” said Jorge Sanchez, Vice President of Business Operations for McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “We have Level 1 for $10,000, Level 2 for $20,000, and Level 3 for $30,000, in helping them pay rent, utilities, help them purchase inventory.”

Las Rocas, A Mexican Restaurant in South McAllen tells ValleyCentral the fund helped them survive. Owner David Gonzalez said he plans to apply once again.

“The community our customers have been rallying together behind us last year and this year and things are starting to come back slowly but surely,” Gonzalez said. ” We are getting back to the level that we used to have before, we are not there yet and of course, we are not out of the woods.”

Small businesses in McAllen who wish to apply for the Support Funds can click here. Applications will remain open until all funds have been depleted.