Dickerson's Catering receives first county small business grant from CARES Act  <font color="#6f6f6f">Las Cruces Sun-News</font>

LAS CRUCES – The county has begun to distribute checks for small business pandemic grants, kicking things off with the first award at the Doña Ana County Government Center on Friday morning.

While County Manager Fernando Macias said that Friday was the deadline for county businesses to apply for a slice of $3 million in federal aid, he also said in an email the county wanted to get some of the checks out while other applications were still being processed.

In September, the state announced the county would receive $3,039,750 in pandemic aid through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to be used for small business grants.

Marci Dickerson, who owns The Game Sports Bar and Grill, The Game II and Dickerson’s Catering and Event Services, was the first business owner to receive a grant during a news conference at the county building Nov. 20.

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Dickerson said the $50,000 grant her catering business received will go entirely toward employee payroll. She said aside from a few employees going on unemployment for about six weeks, her entire catering staff has been kept on the payroll while the business has not been able to operate since March.

The catering business was the only Dickerson business to receive the grant since it is located in the county and not Las Cruces. She said 14 full-time staff work there.

Donning their black uniforms, several members of Dickerson’s Catering staff joined her to receive the funding.

Tyler Allred of Dickerson's Catering and his daughter, Caroline, attend a meeting as the county began distributing small business grant money at the Doña Ana County Government Center in Las Cruces on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020.

“That is the staff that truly appreciates you,” Dickerson said. “Every penny that you give us today will continue to pay their salaries and to make sure they have food on the table.”

Jason Cartwright, a catering manager, said the grant money will help until the pandemic ends and “hopefully we’ll be getting back to normal work.”

Nursing his baby with her bottle, Catering Manager Tyler Allred said “we’re just grateful that people care and are trying to help us out.”

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“Without this grant, without what you guys are doing, we wouldn’t have money to feed our family, to do anything like that,”  Allred said. “So we’re just very grateful we’re able to be here.”

Dickerson said her catering staff has been helping put together food boxes, doing community service and helping put on some of her other notable charity events while the business can’t operate.

lascruces.org. The chamber is helping the county with the application process.

Las Cruces’ grant program allowed small businesses to receive up to $10,000. The county program is more flexible and allows businesses to ask the county for the amount they need. Dickerson said her catering business requested $155,000, for instance.

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Businesses eligible to apply for a county grant must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an active business registration license in good standing;
  • Located in Doña Ana County unincorporated areas, City of Anthony, City of Sunland Park, Town of Mesilla and Village of Hatch;
  • Business is headquartered in Doña Ana County;
  • Business has been forced to close or severely curtailed business operations as a result of closure orders from the State;
  • Have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees;
  • Have an annual revenue of $2 million or less prior to the impact of COVID-19;
  • Businesses must have had a start date prior to March 1, 2019;
  • Nonprofit organizations as designated by IRS and have a certificate of good standing with the State of New Mexico.

dacgrants@lascruces.org.

Michael McDevitt is a city and county government reporter for the Sun-News. He can be reached at 575-202-3205, mmcdevitt@lcsun-news.com or @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.