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75 Service Industry Small Businesses Awarded Grants Through Services That Back Us Program

April 28, 2022 | 75 Service Industry Small Businesses Awarded $5,000 Grants Through “Services That Back Us” Program | By: Liz Shenk, Manager of Marketing & Outreach at Main Street America

Main Street America is pleased to announce the second round of recipients of the Services That Back Us Grant Program, presented by American Express to help underrepresented small business owners that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic recover and thrive. Grants of $5,000 have been awarded to 75 personal service industry businesses in older or historic commercial districts across the country, with preference given to businesses owned by underrepresented groups, including people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, veterans, and women.

Grantees were selected based on feasibility of project implementation; how the grant would help improve the viability of the business; and the extent to which the grant will help address an acute business need or help a business owner implement innovative solutions to address COVID-19-related challenges.

According to a recent Small Business Recovery Report* by Kabbage from American Express, small businesses are seeing steady growth in average monthly revenues after two years of navigating pandemic challenges. However, small businesses are still adapting to other factors, including rising costs of supplies.

Funds from the grant can be used towards critical needs such as physical and digital improvements, new equipment, technology, and training to support their financial recovery and growth.

“This grant is definitely going to help us go a long way,” added Jamie Romero, owner of Chicago-based barbershop, VIP Cuts.

Among the grant recipients, backing their diverse communities is important. Jamell McDowell, owner of Atlanta-based Purple Door Salon, Bridgett Harrison, owner of Dallas-based Fad Kraze Hair Lounge, and Felicia Stokes, owner of New Jersey-based Luxurious Wellniss, all look to the grant as an opportunity for their black-owned and woman-owned businesses to continue to build their brand and make improvements to operations.

“What made me open my own business was there wasn’t any minorities, specifically black-owned businesses such as mine, and that was missing in the area,“ said Meka Mathis, owner of D.C.-based Skin Beauty Bar.

Hear from a few of the recipients in the video below and keep reading for the full list of grantees.

This program marks the latest effort in American Express’ “Backing Small” initiative to provide financial support and educational resources to small businesses throughout the pandemic, with other grant programs including the Coalition to Back Black Businesses and Backing Historic Small Restaurants. Backing Small complements American Express’ Shop Small, a global year-round movement to spotlight small, independent businesses.

The first disbursement of $375,000 was awarded to small businesses in older or historic Main Streets and commercial districts owned by persons with disabilities and/or Asian, Asian American, and/or Pacific Islander. Learn more about the inaugural round of Inclusive Backing here.

Tune in to our channels throughout the month for more information on future rounds and the communities and identities our grants will support. Check out the Inclusive Backing website or sign up for our “Small Business Resources, Information, and Updates” email list for the latest updates.

The Services That Back Us grantees include:

All About You Salon and Spa | Arago Salon | Backbone Hair + Beauty | Bella Amica | Black Fox Hair Studio LLC | C.S. McCullough's | Carina Esthetics LLC | Certified NailsCity Cuts Barbershop | Cuticles Nail Spa | Milena Unisex Salon | Dacoldest Cuts and Styles Barber Shop and Salon LLC | Didi Salon LLC | Haute Beauty Guide by Doran | Escape Salon & Spa | Hair's Evelyn | Evolve Healing Arts Center | Flawless On Main | Lavelle Manufacturing | Salon Mio Mio | Fad Kraze Hair Lounge | Trim Salon | Hair West Designs | Indulge Salon and Spa | James Shoe Hospital | Juniper Hair Company LLC | Bryant Miller Salon | KH Salon LLC | Kutters Korner | Nails & Tips by Laila London | Lush Bazaar | Vintage House of Hair | Monique Michelle The Beauty Experience LLC | Savage Soaps | Nail'd By Londyn, LLC | Nameste Hair | New Orleans Design, Development, & Manufacture (NOLA DDM) | Oh MY LLC | One Stop Salon Chicago | Stayton Acupuncture and Wellness | Pear Nova | Pono A Skin Care & Waxing Boutique | Purple Door Salon | Rich Low Hair | Hello Beautiful Salon | Salon Noir | Salon on Main | Salon One Twenty-Four | Salon Ricshay | Salt & Pepper Beauty Supply | Select Styles Barber Studio | Sesso Bella Salon | Shades of You | Luxurious Wellniss | Skin Beauty Bar | Soleil Luna Hair Salon | SophistiCUTs Barbershop | SprayChic Airbrush Tanning | Strut Hair Solutions | Studio 117 Hair Salon, LLC | Taeko Aesthetics LLC | Di'adara Salon and Spa | BVogue LLC | TexturesRx Beauty and Barber | The Fading Theory Barber Shop | The Bear and Barber | The Hair Cutting Company LLC | The Mend | Tangles | Uniquelyblooming | Uzuri Braids, Inc. | Vanity Hair Salon | VipCutz | Vixens Hair Studio | The Phoenix