Greensboro small business owner surprised with $1,500 check

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — He’s lost business from the pandemic and had protesters shatter his windows but a Greensboro small business owner is determined to make a comeback.

Poke Bowl is one of 70 downtown businesses to receive city funds to help cover operating expenses.

“A lot of customers thought we were closed for good,” said Billy Liu, Poke Bowl owner.

For weeks Liu’s business was hiding behind wooden planks — one half to cover shattered glass, the other as a precaution.

“This year is completely different,” Liu said.

Liu is originally from China and came to Greensboro to open a restaurant. His business opened last summer and was doing well until the coronavirus crisis hit and unruly protesters damaged his front windows.

“It’s really hurting everybody,” Liu said.

Liu lost money daily so when he heard about the Downtown Greensboro Inc. and Guilford Merchant’s Association Retail Revitalization grant, he quickly applied and got the financial save he needed.

“They gave me $1,500 so we can pay off some rent and we can pay some bills. We can get more food to start with,” Liu said.

He wants to fix his front windows and add dividers between tables. He has already built partitions around his counter and painted six-foot markers on the floor — doing his part to protect his customers and employees.

“I really appreciate the support and we’re trying our best to stay here. Never giving up hope,” Liu said.

More businesses will be receiving Retail Revitalization grants after the holiday weekend.

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