A Virginia businessman is using his own money to keep local small businesses alive.
Pete Snyder, an entrepreneur and prominent figure in the Republican Party of Virginia, started the Virginia 30 Day Fund to help small businesses, especially minority-owned businesses, keep employees on the payroll.
He and his wife contributed $100,000 and with other donations have about half a million dollars to offer $3,000 grants to Northern Virginia small businesses.
"Three thousand dollars might not sound like a lot of money, but you know what? It can be used to keep people on the payroll," Snyder said.
One of the businesses Snyder’s fund is helping support is the Springfield Collision Center, a family-owned collision repair shop. Thomas Kim’s father, Yong, opened the shop after immigrating to Northern Virginia from South Korea decades ago.
"Kind of living the American dream," Kim said. "Opens up his own shop ... taking care of his family."
Taking care of the family is proving difficult now that business has slowed to a crawl.
"One or two customers a week," Kim said. "Sometimes there's no customers coming in."
They sent a video with an application to the fund.
"We're just looking for any help as our family's livelihood is at stake," Kim said in the video.
Snyder and his team saw the video and the application.
"We liked the fact that they were working to keep their employees on the job, and it really tugged our heart strings as well," Snyder said.
Once they are up and running again, the small businesses must pay back their $3,000 grant as part of the program's "pay it forward clause." That $3,000 will then get reinvested in another small business.
Snyder said the program has already paid 91 grants and the program's review board has more than 1,400 applications pending. They are still accepting applications. Apply here.