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Special delivery: Pizzeria owner called by governor about grant

Updated March 17, 2021 - 5:03 pm

A Boulder City restaurant owner said the $10,000 business grant he received from the governor’s office last week is a “blessing.”

“We applied for it and didn’t hear anything but we kept our heads up … and kept going,” said Vincenzo “Vinny” Cimino, co-owner of Vinny’s Pizzeria, 1312 Boulder City Parkway.

Cimino said his restaurant was doing well about a year ago and had fully adjusted to its new location when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Then they had to adjust to not being able to have dine-in customers. To help, Cimino said he focused on his carryout service and started offering delivery. He also said he applied for as many grants as possible because he didn’t know what was going to happen. One of those applications was with the Pandemic Emergency Technical Support grant program.

Last week, after a year of waiting, Cimino said Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak called him to let him know he had received a $10,000 grant.

“He (Sisolak) was like … we’re going to give you guys this grant,” said Cimino. “You’re a hardworking family.”

Cimino said it is “a blessing from God.”

“You think positive and positive things happen,” he said. “It’s a great thing.”

According to Sisolak’s office, the PETS grant program was designed so that eligible businesses and nonprofits could operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds can be used to pay for expenses like rent, inventory, payroll, utilities, personal protective equipment and costs associated with retrofits.

“I was so excited to surprise several of Nevada’s hardworking businesses to let them know they had been awarded a small business grant,” said Sisolak in a press release. “Nevada’s small businesses are the backbone of our state and thanks to the recently expanded small business grant program, we can continue to help Nevada’s small businesses keep their doors open, workers employed and allow them to keep on providing the essential services we need.”

Vinny’s Pizzeria was one of five businesses contacted by the governor about this program and the only one in Boulder City.

Cimino said he plans to use the $10,000 to purchase equipment for the restaurant and to make some other improvements.

“Things are just going to get better and better,” he said.

Like many other businesses, the last year has been difficult for Vinny’s Pizzeria because of the pandemic and its restrictions, but Cimino said he has worked to stay positive and hopeful.

“We tried to keep all our employees, and we also built up carryout and delivery,” he said. “Boulder City is loyal to its businesses. The customers are great. At the end of the day the customers kept us going.”

He also said his landlord, Carole Gordon, made it possible for them to stay open.

“She’s God-sent,” he said.

Cimino said he did not have to lay off any of the staff, but he did go without a salary for awhile.

Applications for the PETS grant program were prioritized to assist businesses that were impacted the most during the pandemic, including bars, pubs, taverns, breweries, distilleries, wineries, arts and culture organizations and nonprofit organizations.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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