Small businesses in underserved communities were particularly hard hit from the COVID-19 pandemic and faced more barriers to accessing federal relief. But small-business owners such as Mario Berlanga Jr. found economic relief from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
Mario opened his grocery store in historic West Las Vegas back in 1987. Mario’s Westside Market is a vital community resource in a food desert. It serves predominantly Black and Latino residents, most of whom walk or take the bus to get their groceries. Now, 27 years after it first opened, the market has nearly doubled in size, thanks in large part to a loan from the ARP. With the loan, Mario’s Westside Market will soon be able to offer a much greater supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to opening an internal bakery.
The American Rescue Plan says it in the name itself. It’s a rescue for struggling businesses that suffered under the pandemic—a rescue to help them continue. Around me, I’ve had dozens of businesses that have closed because they didn’t get any help. This plan gives me some hope, knowing that the government is there trying to help us and that they care. I am excited for my community to see the impact of that.
Mario Berlanga Jr.
The ARP allocated billions of dollars to supporting small businesses and emphasized equitable recovery by opening more opportunities for underserved businesses and communities.
Read more stories on how recent legislation has benefited Americans
This collection features stories from people in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire whose lives have been improved by the legislation passed during the Biden administration’s first two years.