U.S. Senator Blumenthal pushing for billions still available in PPP to go to small and minority-owned businesses

New Haven

(WTNH) — While calling Ricky D’s Rib Shack a “great American success story,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said we have to continue to help minority-owned businesses hurt by the pandemic crisis.

“This kind of success story gives me heart and encouragement to fight for additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program,” he said Wednesday.

RELATED: Senator Blumenthal hopes some of $130B in Paycheck Protection Program will go to minority-owned businesses

With $130 billion still available to small businesses, Congress extended the application deadline for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to August 8. Blumenthal wants the money to go to minority-owned businesses.

Business owners who receive money from the program have the opportunity to turn a loan into a grant. Provided they keep their people on the payroll.

Wednesday, Blumenthal met with Ricky Evans, the owner of Ricky D’s Rib Shack in New Haven. Evan’s started out with a popular food truck. In 2016, he opened a sit-down restaurant.

The senator acknowledged the restaurant’s success but said small businesses and minority-owned businesses need to get their fair share of the PPP.

“I received the PPP funds, like, early May and that’s when I was able to bring some of those employees off the bench, bringing them back into work,” said Evans.

Since that time, Evans said he’s also been able to hire four additional employees for a total of nine.

“Paycheck Protection Program works, but it has to be focused on smaller businesses,” said Blumenthal. “Not on the publicly-traded corporations, or others who have access to capital through other means.”

Evans said he received $26,000 from the program. Big help, yes, but he cautioned that it only lasts for so long.

“It’s kind of a variable going into the fall and the winter. If there’s another stimulus or another round it would be greatly appreciated and helpful,” Evans said.

Evans said, during the pandemic he hasn’t had to lay off any employees, although he did have to scale back.

According to Blumenthal, the program has become more flexible. The requirement for payroll went from 75% to 60% so 40% of the funds can now be used for things such as rent, utilities, and the installation of plexiglass.

With BBQ-style brisket, pork, and chicken options, this “great American success story” is also a tasty one.

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