SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Savoy Ballroom was one of 29 small businesses awarded ARPA funds Tuesday. The Greene County Commission awarded the ballroom $10,250.
“[It’s] just a relief that we were able to take advantage of that,” Owner Anne Walls said.
Anne and Andrew Walls opened up Savoy Ballroom at 224 E Commercial Street 12 years ago. They also run a second business called Dance With Me, where they teach ballroom dancing, swing dancing, country dancing, and salsa dancing.
“One of our biggest classes was out in Ava,” Andrew Walls said. “We would go to Ava like on Monday nights, and we would have 100 people show up for dance classes. It was larger dance classes than we had even the Springfield or in St Louis or Tulsa or anything like that.”
The pair have kept busy between teaching classes and hosting wedding receptions or special events at Savoy. Once the pandemic hit, their routine changed.
“At the first part of  we had anywhere from 250 to 300 students through our doors every week,” Andrew said. “As far as events, when we get into March, typically [we had] at least one event every weekend and then it was just suddenly, I guess we’ll postpone.”
The Walls said they are now seeing smaller dance classes, along with smaller events.
“What it cost us was a lot of momentum because a lot of people that were coming out to do dance classes beforehand, even now, still haven’t returned,” Andrew said. “We had a wedding just this last weekend with literally 30 people, so our average is well under 100 at this point.”
Savoy owners said any sort of funding they can get has helped their doors stay open.
“We still have employees to pay,” Andrew said. “We still, you know, have to pay taxes and so forth, which we’ve kept up with. This most recent grant [has] really helped us out with helping us make ends meet and stay current in everything and help us until we recover.”
Savoy plans on using the money for operational costs, like bills and electricity.
If we had just been the dance business, I think he and I would have locked the door and moved to Florida,” Anne said. “It’s a very difficult way to make a living right now.”
The Greene County Commission received over 400 small business applications. 90 have already been approved, and they are in the process of reviewing other applications.