Fargo salon navigates bumpy path to relief funding

In addition to the 16,000 individual workers in North Dakota who applied for unemployment last week, employers like small businesses need assistance.

FARGO — Some small businesses in Fargo report having trouble accessing government aid aimed at helping them weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

While help is available for employees and employers, bureaucratic hurdles and long waits for aid are creating barriers to access, some businesses say.

Three employees of Enlightened Beauty at Bucci Salons in south Fargo have been on unemployment since mid-March when their shop proactively closed nine days before North Dakota Gov. Doug Bugrum ordered many service-related businesses to close on March 27.

Initially, the business expected to be closed until April 1. When closure orders extended well into April, Enlightened Beauty owner Kayla Bartholomay realized she would need help.

Bartholomay said she filled out three applications in a five-day span: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance loan.


She said her response from those applications has been just as silent as the salon clippers.

Bartholomay's loan officer eventually told her the original application would need to be filled out again and the process started over.

"I guess what happened is there were so many applications that the system crashed," she said. "Last night I reapplied."

Bartholomay said it's been almost a month with closed doors and no answers on when or if relief is on the way.

"(It's scary) waiting for those relief efforts and wondering when those will come through," she said.

In the meantime, the salon has been trying to keep client connections by delivering to-go bags — sometimes as far away as Casselton.

Bartholomay said the funds from those deliveries are helping to make a dent in the rent until she gets some answers for her small business.

What To Read Next
Get Local