Time is running out: Certify your small business for free COVID-19 relief money

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Kacky Fell and Phil Hatcher have spent 25 years as business partners capturing memorable moments as part of their photography company. “We have been around a long time,” Fell said with a laugh.

The well-established small business owners expected 2020 to be another successful year. All that changed in a flash. “On March the 3rd, the tornado came through,” explained Fell.

Their studio in Germantown, which was also Fell’s home, was destroyed. “By the time we got to the front of the house, where the destruction was, we could see the sky.”

Thankfully, their photography equipment was spared. The pair relocated Hatcher & Fell Photography to this temporary studio. But, they still couldn’t reopen.

“We had to figure out about COVID,” Fell remembered. Stay at home orders were put in place. “Those two and a half months put us behind.”

Like so many other small businesses, they took a hit. Then Fell found unexpected financial assistance. “That was one reason why I wanted to let all my friends know about this offering from the State of Tennessee.”

Free money from the Tennessee Business Relief program. About 40,000 small businesses are eligible for grants ranging from $2,500 – $30,000 dollars which don’t need to be repaid.

“There have been other offerings which have not been very easy to navigate. This was very different. Very streamlined. And, very easy,” said Fell.

Roughly $130 million dollars yet to be claimed and the deadline is September 25. Fell visited businessrelief.tn.gov to certify the company. Initially denied, Fell sent an email asking why. “They wrote right back,” Fell said, “and said, can you send us some more information?”

So, she did. A few days later, a deposit. “It went directly into our bank account which was pretty incredible.” And now the business partners want others to benefit, too. “Anything that I can do to help my fellow small business partners, I certainly would. That includes getting the word out.”

Click here to learn more about the Tennessee Business Relief Program and here for more information on the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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