Small businesses in N.J. frustrated over wait for Sandy grants

Some small-business owners in New Jersey want the state to do a better job of providing grants to help them recover from Sandy.

 

Ravinder Valia, who owns the Ravinder Day Spa in Hoboken, said she spent more than $100,000 to renovate her business in the aftermath of Sandy. Trying to get her grant application approved has been a nightmare, she said.

“Now that I am open, I opened in January of this year, and now I need some funding to expand the business so I can hire help so that I can be up and running,” she said. “I exhausted my own funds, and I really don’t know what to do.”

Greg Ciafarone, who owns the Healthy and Delicious grill in Toms River, said he’s been seeking approval for his application to the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program for months.

“The money would definitely help. We were able to survive still without the money, but I just don’t think it’s right,” he said. “It’s program they have going on, and I had to use credit cards and all the stuff like that just to keep me afloat and replace everything I lost.”

More than 3,300 small businesses applied for money from the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program, but only 7 percent of them received it, according to the Main Street Alliance, an advocacy group.

The alliance is urging the Christie administration to release the remaining $87 million by the beginning of May so business owners can make hiring plans for the summer.

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