Triangle-area businesses hoping to get federal assistance amid COVID-19

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Applications opened on Monday for the second round of federal assistance loans for small businesses.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) exhausted its first round of funds within two weeks at the beginning of the month.

The program received criticism at the time for granting big corporations money over small businesses.

Now many mom-and-pop shops are hopeful to get their chance as those loopholes are supposed to be closed.

Businesses across the Triangle are reeling from the impact of COVID-19.

“It can be really overwhelming for a small business owner,” said Nina Fenwick, owner of Raleigh Cleaning Company. “We’re about 30% down of where we were at last year.”

Many are experiencing a substantial loss in profits.

“We’ve lost 80 percent of our income,” said Cheryl Lane with Double Barley Brewing. “We’re just hoping that loans come through and we can bring all of our people back. We’ve laid off almost everybody but two people.”

Others are closing altogether.

The Paycheck Protection Program is one of the federal government’s efforts to help small businesses during these times.

Wake County business owner Chuck Norman said his company, S&A Communications, received money from the first round of PPP loans.

“What it did was bought us an extra five weeks or so of time to be able to see what the long-term picture looks like,” said Norman.

He was happy to hear the government decided to do a second round of loans.

“I think it’s great because so many people who really needed it didn’t have the ability to even be considered the first time around,” said Norman.

Andy Ellen, president of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, said retail accounts for one of four jobs in the state.

He said these loans can determine whether or not businesses stay open.

“It’s been tough for them to continue to weather this storm and watch week after week not being able to open and they’re sitting on inventory in some cases,” said Ellen.

Ellen said he knows they’ll reopen safely at some point and hopes shoppers will help make up for lost time.

“These businesses are so much the fabric of their community, and we hope when this is all over that customers will go out and support those businesses,” said Ellen.

Experts said the second round of these PPP loans will likely go fast, as many banks already had applications ready to go. It can take days to weeks to get the money.

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