Harvey’s Smokehouse BBQ gets small business grant

Pictured (l-r) are Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell and restaurant owners Harvey and Natalie Alexander.

Cutler Bay restaurateurs Harvey and Natalie Alexander of Harvey’s Smokehouse BBQ had a special visit from Miami-Dade County District 8 Commissioner Lynda Bell on Friday, July 27. The proprietors of the popular eatery were the recipients of a $2,000 check from the county’s “Mom and Pop” Small Business Grant Program. Natalie Alexander explained what the grant meant to them and their business, especially now.

“June of this year was our third anniversary and we have just grown so much,” she said. “This grant will allow us to expand and buy equipment and be able to add to our business, particularly in catering.

“We need additional space, we need more prep tables, because of the volume coming in, so this grant will help us — push us even farther, and it means a lot. I think it’s an excellent program, and we’re really excited and honored to have Commissioner Bell here.”

Alexander said that they try to give back to the community, and that having the support of local government means a lot.

“Small business operates in a completely different way than a corporate business,” Alexander said. “We create jobs, and we try to create a family atmosphere, so when our customers come in, they’re comfortable here. Harvey knows all of their orders. We talk to them. That’s a small community and that’s why we enjoy it. People connect with us, but it’s hard work and they don’t realize it.”

Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall attended the informal ceremony as the check was presented and took a moment to express his appreciation as well.

“On behalf of the citizens of Cutler Bay I want to make sure that it’s clear to Commissioner Bell how much we appreciate her efforts in this municipality,” MacDougall said. “We’re just pleased to have her onboard, helping small business the way she does. To come out here and show her support, and financially assist as well, is welcome and I thank you very much for it. You’re a great asset to government, that’s for sure.”

Commissioner Bell stressed the importance of the program and how it can help.

“The small businesses, a $2,000 check, to them that’s a lot of money,” Bell said. “That may be the difference in getting their POI system, if it’s a restaurant, or buying computers, whatever they need to do to help them keep their doors open. And it could be that if they can free up those dollars, then maybe they can hire somebody, so there’s jobs.

“It’s just a small way of supporting the small businesses. It’s the small businesses that are really suffering in our nation and our state and our county, so any little way that we can help the small businesses is what we need to do.”

Commissioner Bell combined the check presentation with one of her “Work Day” events, working behind the counter and serving patrons of Harvey’s.

Attending the ceremony was Leroy Jones, the executive director of the countywide Neighbors and Neighbors program. Jones is the creator of the “Mom and Pop” Grant Program. He encourages other small business owners to apply for a grant.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the community,” Jones said. “We need to support small businesses. The grant program is available once a year. You can usually apply for it in the month of December or January. To apply you can go on your county commissioner’s website when the grant becomes available and download the application, or go to their district office.”

Harvey’s Smokehouse BBQ is located at 20218 Old Cutler Rd., and besides eat-in and take out meals it also delivers and does corporate and residential catering. It is open Mondays, 4-9 p.m.; Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 9 p.m.

For information call 305-233-1227, or visit <www.harveysmokehousebbq.com>.

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