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August 22, 2022

Windham uses $1M in ARPA funds to help women- and minority-owned businesses

Contributed Patrick Griffin of Trigo Pizza at 744 Main St. in Willimantic.
Contributed Renovations to Trigo Pizza at 744 Main St. in Willimantic.

The eastern Connecticut town of Windham is spending its $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act money on 62 businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, including many that are owned by women and minorities.

Of the 62 recipients, roughly half are owned by women. Eighteen of the businesses are owned by minorities, 13 of whom are women.

Most of the businesses are nail and hair salons, as well as restaurants, which were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

The program, launched in March, aims to help Windham and Willimantic businesses affected by the pandemic. The Town Council allocated $1 million of the $7.3 million Windham received through ARPA to fund the initiative.

One of the recipients is Patrick Griffin, who owns a Main Street building where he planned to open a restaurant called Trigo Pizza before the pandemic hit. He had to delay his plans as equipment and shipping costs rose, and the industry became hamstrung by supply chain issues and labor shortages. 

He said the money will make it easier for him to launch his new restaurant by the end of the year. 

“The injection of the funds is huge,” Griffin said. “It’s another step to allowing us to open up our doors.”

The restaurant, located on 744 Main St., will have a wood-fired kitchen focusing on pizza and offer small plates, craft cocktails, local beers and a curated wine list.

Griffin received $20,000 to help renovate the building and $20,000 for the restaurant.
Under the program, 62 Windham businesses received between $7,000 and $20,000 for a variety of purposes, including revenue lost due to COVID-19; rent, utility and other operational expenses; rehabilitation and/or improvements to storefronts; and costs incurred to meet spacing and separation requirements. 
Priority was given to small businesses with 25 or fewer full-time employees, for-profit businesses, businesses that did not receive prior COVID-related assistance, and women, minority and veteran-owned businesses. 

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