Restaurants, Retailers Among 192 Businesses Receiving Pandemic Relief Grants

By Staff Reports, posted Sep 22, 2021
The George on the Riverwalk restaurant is one of 192 recipients of COVID-19 relief grants. (File photo)
The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning announced that 192 small businesses in New Hanover County are receiving grants from a fund of more than $4 million.

The businesses are in the hospitality, retail and service sector, and the one-time grants are meant to offset the $65 million in lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the local and state restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus. 

The program awarded grants of $10,000 for businesses with two to 10 employees, $25,000 for 11 to 25 employees and $50,000 for 26 employees or more.

Slice of Life owner Ray Worrell said the grants, which will be used for payroll, will be a welcome influx of funds. All four of his Slice of Life locations received grants, he said.

"It's still a weird thing – ever since COVID, we've never run the right way like we did for 18 years," Worrell said. "It's like somebody came an put sand in our oil pan; the car's just not running the way it's supposed to."

Worrell's biggest problem continues to be having enough employees to staff his pizza restaurants, even after raising wages so that some workers who were making $8 an hour now make $13 an hour.

"We have plenty of business, but we have no way of servicing that business," he said. "It's always a struggle in the spring to get employees because some of them will go to the beach restaurants for $2 more, not knowing come probably November, they're going to be laid off."

In the meantime, all restaurant expenses have increased, Worrell said.

"Chicken wings are a great example," he said. "We used to pay $1.55 a pound for chicken wings; now it's $3.61."

Still, when it comes to the grant money, "That helps us out for sure," Worrell said. "It keeps us going."

According to a news release from the chamber, grant awardees represent as many as 3,700 local employees. Around 650 businesses applied, and 192 businesses met all qualifications for the grant.

New Hanover County will be funding 106 companies with $2.3 million, and the city of Wilmington will be funding 86 companies with $1.9 million, the release stated.

"Our small businesses have suffered during the pandemic and need help to recover,” said New Hanover County Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman in the release. “New Hanover County and the city of Wilmington are placing an emphasis on helping local business owners with cash they need to provide jobs and jumpstart our economy.

The funds can only be used for payroll to hire and rehire employees or for additional expenditures related to the business complying with state and local orders to be COVID-19 compliant. They can't be used for rent, utilities or expenditures related to normal business operations outside of payroll.

Qualifying businesses had to be independent, locally owned and physically located in New Hanover County. They also had to be in operation for six months prior to March 2020.

"This is now the second time New Hanover County has appropriated federal relief dollars to provide a lifeline to our local businesses after we committed $1.3 million in CARES Act funds last year for small businesses," Olson-Boseman said. "I appreciate the city’s partnership, which made this assistance program go so much farther, and I appreciate the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce stepping up to administer the program."

Of the 192 grant awardees, 136 are businesses owned by minorities, women or veterans.

“Wilmington small business owners and their employees are vital to Wilmington’s economy and have endured enormous challenges over the course of the pandemic," said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo in the release. "With the assistance of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, we are quickly and equitably putting millions back into the hands of local small businesses to support a broad-based economic recovery.”

Wilmington Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Natalie English said, “We know our hospitality, retail, and service-based businesses are a critical component of our local economy. New Hanover County will be stronger for this important grant investment that will save and create new jobs.”

The recipients are: 

128 South Events & Catering

A Space to Call Home

Advanced Application Design Inc.

Advanced Maintenance

After School Karate Academy

Airlie Homes

AMG Motor Sports

Andrew Consulting Engineers PC

Apple Annie's Bake Shop

Appliance Service Company

Aqua Fedora

AR Workshop

Archer's Appliance Repair LLC

Art in Bloom Gallery


Atlantic Computer Services

Aunt Kerry's Pet Stop

Barnes Family Dentistry

BAU Print and Mail Inc.

Best Rentals

Beth Bullard

Bike Cycles

Black Sea Grill

Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Blue Roll

BlueTone Media

Boathouse Restaurant

Boseman's Sporting Goods Inc.



Brooklyn Arts Center

Broomtail Craft Brewery

Bryant Real Estate

Cape Fear Boil Company

Cape Fear Coach Lines, Seacoast Trolley

Cape Fear Smiles

Carolina Candy Company

Carolina Dermatology and Skin Cancer Surgery

Catch Restaurant



Children's Cottage of Wilmington

Chrystal Fray State Farm

Circa 1922

Citrus Cans

Clothes Mentor

Coastal Accounting

Coastal Golfaway

Coastal Massage & Spa

Comfort Inn University

Complete Renovation Solutions LLC

Cousins Italian Deli

Crossfire Paintball

Crown Hotel and Travel Management, LLC


D Thomas Roofing Co Inc

Dance Exchange Inc

Dance Express Performing Arts Studio

Daniels Tours

Dockside Restaurant

Dogwood Architecture

Double Happiness Restaurant (two locations)

Down Island Traders

Dr. Coleman Burgess

Drift Coffee & Kitchen

Duck and Dive

Ebbing Branding + Design

Elizabeth Pizza Inc

Five Star Cleaning Service Inc

Flying Machine Brewing Company

Flytrap Brewing


Geo Owl LLC

Goodfellas Nitelife

Graphic Image Printing

Gymnastics Unlimited

Hampton Inn Medical Park Hotel

Hanover Coatings Inc

Havana's Restaurant

Helen Tarokic Law PLLC

Hey Beer Bottle Shop

High Performance Lighting & Power, Inc

High Tide Canvas and Upholstery

Hill & Klutch Studio

Hurricane Alleys

Ibiza Nightclub

Indochine Restaurant

Inner Solutions Counseling Center, PLLC

Innovations of Hope

Isaac’s Clothing Store

Islands Fresh Mex Grill

J. Michael's Philly Deli

Java Dog Coffee House

Jenkins Preschool Academy LLC

Jerry Allen’s Sports Bar and Grill

Jester's Cafe

Joe's Oasis

Junction 421

Just Cut It Barbershop

Kale Me Crazy

Kendall's Hallmark (two locations)


Little Asia Bistro

Lula's Pub

Matt Skelly Training

MEOW Investments

Michael's on the Waterfront

MICI Inc dba Park Select

Might as Well

Mirror Image Barber and Styling

Modern Legend

Moe's Southwest Grill

Moving It Forward

Nails Amour

New Hanover Printing & Publishing

NNR Hospitality

Nori Asian Fusion and Sushi Bar

Nurses Choice

Old Books on Front

Once Upon a Child

Panacea Brewing Company

Patient Centered Care PLLC

Patriot Roofing Company LLC

Paul Vision Institute

Perry's Emporium Inc.

Physical Therapy for Women Inc

Pizzeria IL Forno

Plato's Closet

Port City Brew Bus

Port City Java

Pour Taproom

Pravda KGB


Re-eco Design


Ripxfit Fitness Studio

Rosalie's Trattoria

Rountree Losee LLP

Salt Water Real Estate

Saltwater Salvage Designs

Sapos Cleaning


Scooter's Family Skating Center

Seacoast Systems Inc.

Seagate Direct

Seagate Hair Studio

Seagrass Salon & Day Spa


Service. Auto repair

Seven Mile Post Pub

Shannon Agee


Slice of Life (four locations)

Splash & Dash Coin Laundry

Stemmerman's Inn

T and D Custom Fences and Deck LLC

Tanglez Salon & Spa

Terra Sol Sanctuary

TF Fitness and Nutrition

The Brewer's Kettle

The Copper Penny

The Fairy Circle LLC

The George on the Riverwalk

The Greeks

The Harp

The Hemp Farmacy

The Ivy Cottage

The Mailbox Store

The Second Glass LLC

The Veggie Wagon (three locations)

The Verandas

Thrill of the Hunt Ltd

Tideline Surfaces

Tinyz Tavern

Tire Repair and Sales

Total Comfort Services Inc.

True Rest Float Spa

TW Lewis Electric Inc.

Which Wich Mayfaire

Which Wich Pointe

Whitley Coleman PLLC

Wilmington Bilingual Preschool

Wilmington Brewing Company

Wilmington Mental Health

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