Moving Flint Forward with Bella’s Concessions & Catering
Earlier this year, 15 small businesses in Flint were awarded $10,000 each through our Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program.
And for Tonya Atkins — who was laid off from her primary job for a few months at the beginning of the pandemic — that funding made all the difference.
“It seems like at the beginning of every season, we have some kind of breakdown with the trailer,” said Atkins, who opened Bella’s Concessions & Catering five years ago. “This year, it was the water heater. And with trying to catch up on bills, I just wouldn’t have been able to run the business without the grant this year.”
Thanks to the General Motors-funded initiative, Atkins has continued serving up nine types of fries (ranging from garlic parmesan to pulled pork) and a variety of meat and vegetarian options to customers throughout Genesee County and beyond. “The community has helped create my menu. Someone might ask, ‘Do you have chicken?’ And I’ll say, ‘I don’t today, but I will if you come back tomorrow.’”
Atkins says she got her start by feeding the homeless from her home and her church in 2009. From there, she purchased her bright-orange trailer and turned her talents into a business model. That said, she still serves the community by partnering with Catholic Charities Shiawassee and Genesee Counties and Mission of Hope to bring together food vendors and community agencies for an annual event for the area’s underserved. This year’s event has put on hold due to COVID-19, but she hopes to bring it back soon.
Tonya and her daughters, Ladonna and Taylor, will be based at the Back to the Bricks – Car Cruise Mega Site (at 4000 and 4800 S. Saginaw St.) through 9 p.m. today. Then, she will be based at the downtown Flint flat lot from 6:30am-9pm on Aug. 20 and from 6am-5pm on Aug. 21. For future dates and availability, check out her Facebook page at facebook.com/msbellasllc.
To learn more about the Moving Flint Forward program, which is a collaborative effort between General Motors and the Flint & Genesee Group, click here.