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By Melissa Angell
Inc., February 10, 2022

Some businesses aren't just hungry for more federal aid -- they're famished. 

Everyone hoped that 2022 would welcome a sanguine post-pandemic future -- one that teased the promise of a closer return to "normal." But the Omicron variant, supply chain disruptions, and a spiraling inflation rate ... have made that vision seem quaint. Meanwhile, the federal programs that doled out Covid aid during the pandemic are mostly depleted. 

The combination of challenges has encouraged some business owners to appeal to lawmakers for more aid. ...

The time is now, agrees John Pepper, but not because it's smart legislative timing. The owner of Boston-based restaurant chain Boloco says business conditions remain tough. "The work-from-home trend is definitely causing a downturn in sales that doesn't seem to be reversing," says Pepper, who recently had to shut down one of his locations in Boston over anemic sales. ...

For its New Hampshire location, Boloco received $275,000 from the RRF. But for its Massachusetts locations, it has yet to see a dime of the $5.4 million that the funds formula yielded for the restaurant. One entity owns the Boloco unit in New Hampshire, while another entity owns the five Boloco locations in Boston.

"That's expansion money," says Pepper, noting that even if Congress can't get another aid package done, just paying out against existing programs would be a huge help -- and it could help the nation hit maximum employment. He adds: "One to two million [dollars] would have put us back into a position where we could fully employ people " ...

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