Celebrating the small businesses hardest hit during the pandemic

HARTFORD, Connecticut (WTNH) – Small-business foodservices in Connecticut have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Over the past 20 months, the industry has lost $ 250 billion nationwide.

On Wednesday, industry leaders launched “Dine Local”.

Parkville Market in Hartford is a global hub for the world’s spices. The 20,000 square foot outdoor market has 20 different restaurants.

“I ordered at the vegan restaurant. I ordered mac and cheese and chicken fillets, ”said Bloomfield’s Trinity Stewart.

The US Small Business Administration reports that nearly 99,000 people are employed in the small business restaurant industry. Local restaurants in Connecticut generate more than $ 2 billion in payroll per year.

“The table was very tough for our restaurants and our food industry during COVID-19, they had to pivot and work really hard to survive,” said Catherine Marx, SBA district manager.

During the pandemic, consumer confidence declined significantly. Now they are having dinner. The pandemic losses for this industry have been massive. There were 1,600 struggling Connecticut restaurants that received $ 301 million from a federal restaurant revitalization program, but 2,000 more were left behind. It is estimated that relief funding of $ 489 million is still needed.

The Parkville Market creator choked on thanking the SBA for their help. His dream of creating a space for start-ups has come true.

“I still believe in the American dream and I believe entrepreneurship is a way to be independent,” said Carlos Mouta, owner of Parkville Market.

For the locals, it is also an opportunity to support their culture.

In addition to delicious food and live entertainment, it is a gathering space full of community.

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