ENC Restaurants Respond to Small Business-Focused PPP Adjustments

GREENVILLE, North Carolina (WITN) – The Paycheck Protection Program is used to provide loans to businesses that are struggling to pay their employees during the pandemic, but all owners have little luck.

A new initiative in the program aims to change that by prioritizing the country’s smallest businesses.

Leader among the new rules enacted Wednesday: for the next two weeks, only companies with 20 employees or less can apply for a PPP.

Some small businesses are eager to apply, but others say it’s still not enough.

Molly’s Community Café opened its doors barely 5 months before it all ended in March.

As a new business, they had no income to base their P3 loans on, so they say they received next to nothing.

“First year, going through what we have, if you don’t have the money, well, you keep running the operations,” said Ben Cashion, co-owner of the cafe. “And that payment protection really doesn’t mean much.”

Even some well-established companies, like Mike’s Deli, 29, weren’t fortunate enough to get more than a few thousand dollars from the program.

“Businesses take billions of dollars; in the meantime, you know, we’re trying to survive here as a family business and sometimes that doesn’t make it easy for us, ”said owner Terry Hatoum.

“We have three or four employees. Okay, not a lot. But still, you have to keep them and you have to pay them off, then you’re going to dip into the savings and after a year what savings do you have? They are all gone! Hatoum added.

This is where the new paycheck protection program comes in.

“Small businesses kind of got the short term to be able to get these loans the first time,” said ECU professor of economics Dr Rick Niswander, be the only ones in line and if you have an interest , you must take advantage of it.

Niswander says that resources like Small Business and Technology Development Center in Greenville can help homeowners understand not only these loans but also all of the challenges associated with them.

“It’s designed to help small businesses improve themselves, in all kinds of ways.”

In the meantime, Molly’s is finally on the verge of disintegration after a grueling first year of operation. But until the restaurant is upbeat, they say they won’t get the loans they deserve.

“Sometimes when you don’t have a choice, and you have to put in the time and have to work again, without pay, the reward continues to serve and to continue to survive,” Cashion said.

Another key adjustment to the program is aimed at offering higher pay to the marginalized. The formula for calculating loan amounts will now base its numbers on gross income, rather than net income, which should result in larger loans for qualifying small businesses.

The PPP is a 5 year loan with an interest of 1% which can be canceled if specific requirements are met.

Copyright 2021 WITN. All rights reserved.

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