Paying it forward in COVID-19 era, small business helping small business

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Back in April, we began covering businessman and entrepreneur Pete Snyder’s effort to pay it forward by giving forgivable loans to local businesses in need during the pandemic.

The project was supposed to last one month. 

Eight months later, Snyder’s Virginia 30-day Fund has given 772 businesses a total of $3.4 million in funds. 

Nick’s Fresh Seafood and Steaks got a $3,000 forgivable loan. 

So did Chicho’s Matt Potter. We were with him as he tossed pizza at the Pacific Avenue shop.     

Bill Pappas who is Captain of “Playing Hooky” Charters, and Kisha Moore of Hummingbird Macarons and Desserts.   

Then there’s East Beach Veterinary Care. They got one too. On May 1, Veterinarian Dr. Bonnie Alexander said, “If we don’t need the grant money, we will be paying it back to the VA 30-Day Fund where they can help another small business in Virginia.” 

On Wednesday, that’s exactly what her husband Larry Alexander is about to do. 

“We talked to Pete and told him we were going to refund the money. Give the money back. The first thing Bonnie said was we were giving it back to go to a restaurant type business in Virginia Beach,” Alexander said.  

Standing outside of Whitmer’s BBQ on Lynnhaven Parkway was Larry, Pete, and Del. Glenn Davis who contributed to Snyder’s fund.

“It feels great to help out, and I’ve never been into that BBQ place so I have a new place to eat,” Larry said with a laugh.  

Snyder then surprised Whitner’s owner Chris Rogers — who was in the distance doing curbside service wearing a shirt that reads “Cue Crew.” 

We followed Snyder into the restaurant, “Come on Gents,” and we walked in holding one of those giant ceremonial checks with $3,000 on it.   

Snyder took charge.

“We are going to cut to the chase. We are going to give you a fully forgivable $3,000 loan, and it is brought to you by Larry and Bonny Alexander.” 

Alexander added, “We wanted to help out a fellow business owner. When we were struggling, the VA 30 Day Fund and Pete Snyder came through for us.” 

Now the Alexanders are coming through for Rogers. 

For 12 years Chris Rogers has built a business serving pit-smoked BBQ from pulled pork to brisket and everything in between.

“To get $3,000, I’m going to be able to keep my doors open this winter and pay the folks who have worked so hard for me this year. 2021 has to be a better year. This has been the hardest we’ve had in 12 years.” 

Rogers kept every employee on who wanted to keep working. He went from 13 employees in February to seven today, but here he is still standing. 

Rogers promises he will work to pay it forward too. 

“We are going to keep paying it forward, helping other small businesses. Staying open and helping other small businesses.” 


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