Lowe’s pledges to help minority- and women-owned businesses

From left, Liz Cox poses with Darryl Murphy, Mary Butts, Vannessa Ervin and Hiram Grady, employees of Carobell Inc., as she hands them a box of masks. (Caramia Valentin photo)

By Caramia Valentin, special to the News-Times

Lowe’s Home Improvement is partnering with The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to offer boxes of personal protective equipment and grants for minority and women owned small businesses in need of aid.  

Applications for the first wave opened up in the month of June and will be vetted by LISC to determine which businesses will receive aid. Lowe’s has committed $25 million in small business grants to help some of the small businesses that are struggling to stay open amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our country’s small businesses are the backbones of rural and urban communities,” said LISC President and CEO Maurice A. Jones, in a press release by Lowe’s Home Improvement. “They require capital, right now, if they are to continue to provide vital goods and services to their customers and help drive long-term recovery and growth. We are grateful to Lowe’s for their strong commitment to doing just that.”

Lowe’s will also be donating $18 million in KN95 masks to minority and women-owned small businesses. Masks were sent to Lowe’s stores around the country. The Cape Carteret location received 2,500 masks to be distributed by employee Liz Cox.

‘We’re reaching out into Onslow, Carteret, Jones and Craven Counties to try to provide masks to these small businesses that are just trying to open back up,” said Cox. “We’re still in a pandemic right now and we want them to feel safe and we want the patrons that come into their businesses to feel safe as well.”

Cox distributed 2,200 of their 2,500 masks to Carobell Inc., The Salt Marsh Cottage, Island Pet Veterinarian, Class Act Catering, Blessed Body Day Spa, and more. She will continue to bring masks to businesses that reach out to Lowe’s and request them, and masks are also available to people as they walk into the store.  

“We’re very excited that Lowe’s decided to partner with Carobell,” said Carobell Inc. President Vanessa Ervin. “We’ve been a healthcare provider for 51 years, and we have members who are very medical fragile, so we wear masks 100 percent here so it is very important to us that we have the masks and we are grateful that Lowe’s saw the need and reached out to us.”  

Businesses can register and apply for the small business grants at www.LISC.org/lowes

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