Two local businesses were announced as the recipients of NEC Co-op Energy and the United Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Empowerment Fund on Tuesday.
Comanche Corner Cafe, a restaurant specializing in barbecue and , and Enjoy Corpus Christi Tours, which provides guided tours of the region, were each awarded grants.
The Small Business Empowerment Fund was created with the goal of providing help to small local businesses without government assistance, Chamber President and CEO John LaRue said.
Albert Garza, business development coordinator for NEC Co-op Energy, said the company wanted to help the community thrive.
“As the pandemic impacted Nueces County, many of our small businesses faced challenges and are still recovering,” Garza said. “As a community focused electric cooperative, NEC Co-op Energy wanted to help.”
The owners of the two businesses spoke at a press conference about how the grants were a big help in a time of need.
Ricci Neer, owner of Comanche Corner Cafe, said the grant came at a time where she wasn’t sure she’d be able to keep her doors open. Like many businesses in the Coastal Bend, Comanche Corner Cafe took a financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When everything hit in March and late April, it was like the bottom fell out of our business and it was really scary,” Neer said. “We were also the recipient of the grant last year, along with the utility grant, and that made a huge difference for our business.
The grant will allow the cafe to enhance its outdoor dining area.
Susan and Rene Trevino, owners of Enjoy Corpus Christi Tours, said their business faced issues after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and again after the pandemic and Hurricane Hanna.
“We definitely appreciate the grant,” Susan Trevino said.
Ashlee Burns covers trending and breaking news in South Texas. See our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe