Owners of 51 Miami Lakes businesses assembled in front of Town Hall on Dec. 21, to accept grants to help them with rent or revenues lost during the coronavirus pandemic.
“At the end of a horrible, very difficult year, it’s a great day,” Town Manager Ed Pidermann said. The business owners agreed.
“Words can’t express the gratitude that we feel,” said Alex Marban, who with his wife Yirka Marban own Painting with a Twist on Main Street.
Like some of the other business owners, they plan to rebuild their enterprise with a $10,000 grant from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Jessica Lyn Valdes’s Massage it Away Therapeutic Massage serves elders who are fearful of getting treatment during the pandemic.
Valdes said she has lived and worked in town for more than two decades. She received a grant of $6,621 that she hopes will enable her to stay in business longer.
“When all else failed, thankfully my town came through,” Valdes said. The town received $500,000 in federal funds and dispersed $462,851.18.
The rest will go toward administrative costs that are still being tallied, including a temporary accountant who helped process 90 applications, Pidermann said.
Of the 39 businesses denied grants, reasons included duplication of benefits; unqualified expenses; the business was new or was located out of town.
Mayor Manny Cid said businesses shouldn’t have suffered after the government closed many of them down. He complained that Miami-Dade County had the funds since April.
“We knew we had to get those dollars into your hands as soon as possible to make sure that your businesses keep moving forward,” Cid said.
Pidermann credited teamwork between town staff and elected officials.
He singled out the Finance Department and Chief Financial Officer Ismael Diaz. The council approved the project on Nov. 17; checks were dispersed five weeks later.
“The county said the town could only choose one program, and we knew giving grants to small businesses was a priority,” Ismael Diaz said. “We knew small business owners were going home thinking about paying their rents, thinking about how to pay their employees and how to give the same level of service while cutting costs.”
Also present for the ceremony were Council- woman Marilyn Ruano, Councilman Jeffrey Rodriguez; Fla. Rep. Alex Rizo, R-Hialeah and Vice Mayor Luis Collazo, who called the grants a “small token” and said more help was needed.
“Everybody that’s out here right now needs to help each other, because that’s the lasting change that’s gonna take us over the hump,” Luis Collazo said.
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt was represented by Adriana Rodriguez and Jimmy Robaina, who is also a gym teacher at Miami Lakes Middle School.
“The Town of Miami Lakes, from the very beginning, The Graham Companies, all of them have always had our backs, all the way going back 10 years,” Jimmy Robaina said. “From picking a site, to the Realtor, to everything that involves starting a business here. Mayor Cid and council, we cannot thank you enough to help us keep going.
“We’re gonna make it,” he said. “We’re all gonna make it.”
Rental assistance grant recipients: Jess & Jenn Services Corp. ($3,339)
and Total Look Beauty Salon ($4,000). Receiving $5,000 each toward rent were Kolorbar Miami, Inc.; My Gym Miami Lakes, LLC; All Dental Group/Alexandra D. Gherbali DDS PA; Self-Beauty Salon Services and Next Level Cutz.
Loss of revenue grant recipients: Sureel Photography, LLC ($4,500); Massage it Away Therapeutic Massage ($6,621); George L. Guerra DDS, PA ($9,695.59) and Rafael Luces, Jr., DDS PA ($9,695.59).
Receiving $10,000 each for lost revenues were: Throwing the Dyno Inc.; Crisp Creations dba Giardino Gourmet Salads; All Star Events; Always at Your Side Adult Day Care, Inc.; HairHaus dba A’Dazzles Salon; Sumax Investments/ Menchie’s of Miami Lakes; Gerardo’s Marketplace; Agni Corp./Full Potential Learning Academy; Intensity Dancers Studio, Inc.; Baluna, LLC restaurant supply; Signature Nails & Skincare Spa; Signature II Nail & Skincare Spa; Miami Lakes Sporting Goods, Inc.; Misha’s Cupcakes Miami Lakes; El Pimiento Restaurant, Inc.; Lighthouse Dentistry; PM Quality – Green Cleaners; Fit Therapy LLC; Gauchos Argentinean Gourmet 2; Miami Lakes A+ Daycare; Best Driver Resources, Inc.; Hermanni & Lorenzo Law Group, PA; Florida Sleep Neuro Diagnostic Services Inc.; Zeta Entertainment, Inc.; Sun Electronics International, Inc.; Carol Lake LLC-Prime Cleaners Miami Lakes; DWYL LLC dba Lighthouse Yoga & Wellness; Aileen Franklin P.A./Franklin Law Group; Snow’s Jewelers; Basulto Robbins & Associates, LLP; Aeronautical Systems dba Delong Systems, Inc.; Universal Imaging & Radiology LLC; Sharp Integrate/Marketing dba Sir Speedy Printing; Y&Y Painting LLC dba Painting with a Twist Miami Lakes; Goar Corp./Holiday Bakery; Karcar Investment Corp. dba Miami Lakes Adult Day Care; Mei Hair Studio, Inc.; Msamiti LLC dba Thai Café; Susette Coiffeur and Fantasy Designers, Inc.