The City of Lynchburg CARES Business Recovery Grant Program is a fund to offer financial assistance to businesses whose operations were either closed or restricted in response to the novel coronavirus. The first round of funding was aimed at businesses that were forced to temporarily cease or limit operations due to Executive Order 53. The Office of Economic Development & Tourism has expanded the eligibility to serve more in the Lynchburg business community, including smaller businesses with gross revenues between $50,000 and $100,000 and those considered “essential” but still suffered financial losses.
One business participating in the CARES Business Recovery program is BS Grillin’ Company, owned by A.J. Richards (better known locally as Chef A.J.). A.J. founded her company out of love for cooking and a need to create a safe product that her entire family could eat due to extensive food allergies. Now in business for 7 years and sold at many local grocery stores, A.J. had recently expanded her market to include local colleges and universities. With the suspension of in-person classes on many campuses, she has had to limit her expansion plans this spring and fall. She has also incurred losses due to the cancellation of local festivals and events, where she usually has a busy fall season. A.J., however, is resilient, and has been able to adapt to these ever changing circumstances. With the CARES grant funding, she plans to re-introduce a product that has been out of stock during this time. Listen in to our conversation below.