SUMTER, S.C. — Ruth Pritchard started her Sumter hair salon Shades Studio Hair Color & Design more than a decade ago, but, like many, the coronavirus pandemic led her store to take a hit.
"It cost so much money for cleaning everything, moving everything, putting it in a building," Pritchard said. "I’ve always had to tuck back $5 here or $10 here and if I hadn’t have done that, we probably wouldn’t be open."
She decided to apply for the state's Minority and Small Business Relief Grant Program, offering between $2,500 and $25,000 to eligible businesses.
"I did get an email that said I was approved, but I haven't gotten anything," Pritchard said.
That was in December. Since then, state leaders say 2,721 of the 2,970 recipients of the South Carolina CARES Act Relief Grant Programs, including the Nonprofit Relief Grant Program, have received funds, but more than 200 businesses are still waiting.
"Currently, there are 235 minority and small businesses that have not received payment yet. Payments for those recipients are being processed through the state’s established payment process, which is used to make any payment on behalf of the state to various entities or vendors," Kelly Coakley, a spokesperson for the S.C. Department of Administration, said in a statement. "Many of the applications left to be paid will need to provide additional financial information so that their information can be validated and their payments can be completed using the state’s normal processes. We are actively reaching out to those applicants."
Pritchard said she's been working to make sure they have all the relevant documents.
"There shouldn’t be a thing that they need. They got all bank statements, social security numbers, passports, business licenses," she said.
When the money does come, Coakley said it will be by check or electronic means.
"When it comes, then it'll be an exciting moment," Pritchard said. "We would be able to breathe."
If a recipient has a questions about their grant award, they can call the AccelerateSC call center, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The number to call is 1-833-722-2578.