NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Dozens of local small businesses that have been struggling to survive during the pandemic recently received some much-needed help from Dominion Energy.
Dominion Energy worked with the Urban League of Hampton Roads to give grants to 65 Hampton Roads businesses. The grants ranged from $2,500 to $10,000.
Norfolk native and veteran Korbin Brown received $5,000 for his business, Care More Movers, which moved into a storefront in October.
“We needed it, we really needed it,” Brown said.
Marsella Sanders can relate. She owns and operates Mimmie’s Learning Academy in Virginia Beach — a vital service for working parents in the pandemic.
“Mommy can’t go to work if she has to worry about her children,” she said.
A retired teacher, Sanders stopped taking a paycheck when enrollment dropped from 32 children to just five. Recently, her business also received a $5,000 grant from Dominion Energy.
“Small business owners like Korbin Brown and Marsella Sanders are two examples of many dedicated entrepreneurs who may be struggling but they remain committed to keeping their doors open for their customers,” said Dominion Energy Regional Policy Director Bonita Billingsley-Harris.
Dominion Energy cut a check for $200,000 and the Urban League of Hampton Roads, which has a long tradition of advocating for Black-owned businesses, distributed the grants.
Brown used the money to pay rent and utilities and to put some cash in his marketing budget to move his business forward.
“We know that the future is bright,” Brown said.
For Sanders, it brought relief.
“It was a big relief as the grant money showed up,” Sanders said.
Dominion is offering more help for small businesses with unpaid energy bills through 2020. Businesses that need it can apply for Dominion’s Energy Share funds.
More information is available on the Hampton Roads Chamber’s Small Business Development Center site.