Food and Beverage Business Grants

New business assistance grants for food and beverage industry businesses in the City Center and Fairhaven districts.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: October 7, 2020 at 11:59PM.


Food & Beverage Grant Awardees


  • Business currently operating as a food and beverage business with a physical storefront in the City Center or Fairhaven Districts of Bellingham (maps).
  • Paid all City, County, State and Federal taxes prior to March 2020 and child support or regularity fines actions or penalties.
  • Free of any pending litigation or legal action, suspension/debarment from use of federal funds, and federal restrictions on the use of the funds.
  • Licensed in the state of Washington and registered with the City of Bellingham.
  • Self-attests support and compliance with the Washington State Health Department directives and guidelines related to reducing the transmission of COVID-19.

Allowable Uses of Grant Funds

  • Payment of rent or required monthly loan payments.
  • Payments of regular wages, employee benefits and taxes; providedsuch expenses have not been and, to the best knowledge of the Recipient, will not be reimbursed under any federal, state or regional program, including any grant or loan programs such as EIDL and PPP.
  • Expenditures involved in typical operating costs, including those set forth on an income statement as a regular, ongoing cost of operating the business.
  • Typical draws or wages paid on a regular interval to the owner; provided such draws or wages are consistent with those paid to the owner in previous corresponding quarters, years or other appropriate time intervals.
  • Expenses for compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures, including personal protective equipment and supplies, plexiglass barriers or other similar equipment and expenses reasonably necessary for the protection of public health and the health of Recipient owners and employees.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds

  • Political campaign contributions or donations.
  • Charitable contributions or gifts.
  • Bonus payments to Recipient owners, officers or employees.
  • Payment of wages to any member of the Recipient owner’s family who is not a bona fide employee.
  • Draws or salary to Recipient owner that exceeds the amount paid over a corresponding interval, quarter, or year in 2019.
  • Paydown or payoff of debt by more than the monthly amount required by the underlying debt instrument.
  • Payroll and other employee- or business-associated costs for which the Recipient has received or expects to receive reimbursement from other federal, state or regional funds (e.g. Payroll Protection Program or unemployment insurance).
  • Damages covered by insurance.
  • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services.
  • Severance pay.
  • Legal settlements.
  • Any expenses not considered an eligible business expenses by the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service.

Ranking Criteria

Applications will be scored on the business’ demonstrated role in the local supply chain (10%), relative strength of the business and application materials (15%), contribution to the vitality of the district (25%) and adaptivity to COVID-related restrictions (50%).

Reporting Requirements

Grantees will be required to submit an electronic report to the grant administrator no later than December 31, 2020 with the current status of the business.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I applied for the Whatcom ReStart Business Grant, can I apply for the Food & Beverage Business Grant?

  • Yes. If you received the county-wide Whatcom ReStart business grant, or are waiting to hear if you will receive round two of the Whatcom ReStart business grant, you may still apply for the City of Bellingham Food & Beverage business grant as long as you still have remaining financial impacts due to Covid-19 that will not be reimbursed under any federal, state or regional program (including any grant or loan programs such as EIDL and PPP).

If my food/beverage business is within city limits, but not located in the City Center or in Fairhaven, can I still apply for this grant?

  • Only food and beverage businesses that are within the City Center and Fairhaven District (maps) are eligible for this grant. This is due to limited available grant resources, which are being focused on these two key commercial districts. Please check these maps to ensure you fall within the boundaries of one of the two business districts.