15 Fresno County restaurants receive grant and year-long support

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Thursday, May 20, 2021
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Fifteen Fresno County restaurants are taking advantage of an opportunity to bounce back from the pandemic.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fifteen Fresno County restaurants are taking advantage of an opportunity to bounce back from the pandemic.

"It has definitely been a challenge for us and affected our business drastically. We have been down the last couple of months by more than 70% in sales," said Valparaiso Coffee Roasters co-owner, Mario Vargas.

Valparaiso Coffee Roasters in downtown Fresno is one of 318 restaurants selected by the California Restaurant Foundation for a grant of up to $3,500. Financial support Vargas says it makes all the difference.

"The grant allows us to pay rent, buy products, and essentially gives us a month of survival, which is crucial for our business," he said.

Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of the Foundation, says the Restaurant Care Resilience Grant is one small way of assisting a hard-hit industry.

Their application process allowed restaurants to share their story, and selections were based on revenue loss and the size of the businesses.

"If we can provide a boost, it's what we do and why we do what we do. We are just excited we can do so," she said.

With the grant, recipients will receive year-long support services thanks to a generous $250,000 donation from Wells Fargo - including peer-to-peer mentorship and more.

"All kinds of topics that really are intended to help the restaurant owner evaluate their business, so they maximize and make the most of their opportunity to rebound, " said Harshfield.

Tools Vargas says he and his wife are excited to learn from for their business, especially because many of the services are hard to come by for small businesses.

"Those outlets to find revenue or connect and collaborate with other restaurants is big for us, " said Vargas.

These owners say their fortunate and feel motivated to persevere through these difficult times.

To donate or learn more about the California Restaurant Foundation, find them on Facebook.

To try some coffee from Valparaiso Coffee Roasters; they're located at 744 P St, Fresno, CA 93721.