Main Street Alliance: Awards over 20 grants to bars and restaurants with support from Seagram’s 7 Keep the Dive Alive

Main Street Alliance has awarded 22 grants of $3,500 to restaurants and dive bars across the country through a third round of the Main Street Relief Fund, with support from Seagram’s 7 Keep the Dive Alive campaign. 

In time for National Dive Bar Day this summer, Seagram’s 7 Crown Blended American Whiskey teamed up with actor and comedian, Iliza Shlesinger, to launch the “Keep the Dive Alive” campaign. As part of the platform, Seagram’s 7 released a series of tongue-in-cheek ‘training materials’ featuring Iliza that support the reopening of small businesses, including local dive bars, that bring moments of cohesion and celebration to our communities. 

With donations from that campaign, Main Street Alliance opened the third round of its Main Street Relief Fund, which had initial funding rounds beginning in 2020, in partnership with Crown Royal. The third round recipients received funds in Fall 2021, designed to support business expenses as the Delta variant continued to impact restaurants and bars across the country. Recipients for the grants spanned 9 states and DC.

“I did not qualify for a PPP loan as I opened my bar and grill after I was laid off during the pandemic,” said Main Street Relief Fund recipient Segundo Balvoa, the owner of Galapagos Bar and Grill in Minneapolis. “The Main Street Relief Fund grant will be helpful for payroll, and marketing as we have really grown only through word of mouth.”

Adversely impacted by the pandemic, these beloved community institutions continue to need support to keep their doors open. To save our local restaurants, bars, and venues, we need direct financial support – that means both grants and public policy solutions.

“We wanted to create a space for people of different backgrounds to come together, connect and learn from one another. Our goal is to give our neighbors a unique experience of food and culture,” said Main Street Relief Fund Recipient Samuel Muriithi, owner of Serengeti Restaurant and Lounge in Washington, DC. “We’ve been closed off and on throughout the pandemic, and have been closed since this summer. We hope these funds will help us kickstart our reopening and regain our place in the community.” 

While some federal grant funding was approved in the last American Rescue Plan Relief package, many small businesses were not able to access grant programs. The Main Street Relief Fund grants are a drop in the bucket. Main Street Alliance continues to advocate for the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and state-based grants programs for a larger impact across the small business economy.