Local businesses fight COVID-19 with federal funding | KAALTV.com

Local businesses fight COVID-19 with federal funding

Jacklyn Harold
Created: July 27, 2020 11:12 PM

(ABC 6 News)- Federal and state funding has been helping thousands of businesses stay afloat, and several in Southern Minnesota are sharing their experience as Emergency loan recipients. 

"In the end, we did 1,020 loans, and all the loans valued at about $27.3 million dollars," said Bob Isaacson, the Executive Director of the Office of Business Finance with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The Blue Moon Ballroom owner Fred Gommels said the first two weeks of the closure were traumatic for his business and even with decades of experience as a small business owner, he'd never experienced an impact quite like this one.

"This is going to enable us to stay afloat and continue to operate as we normally would during this time which will be a slow recovery," said Gommels. 

On DEED's website, all of the businesses that received funding are listed according to the seven different regions awarded federal dollars. 

"In particular in the southern part of the state which includes the Rochester area, 85 loans valued at $2 million dollars were distributed to businesses," said Isaacson.

Across town, Fiddlehead Coffee owner Sara Phelan says no one could have anticipated such an economic hit like this, especially a business less than five years old. 

"We all operate on a very small margin anyway, and we're a young company still," said Phelan. She and her three other business partners opened a second location to the coffee shop just before the closures. Phelan said the COVID relief loan has helped, but it's all been spent.

"We used it a bit ago, on payroll, and paying the rent and utilities," she said. "A lot of us rely on this time of year to get us through the winter months, so what's coming is also really uncertain for us."

The loans ranged from $35,000 dollars which is the highest allotted amount, to as low as $1,000 dollars. Officials said businesses that specialize in hospitality are some of the most impacted during COVID, which made them the focal point when it came to funding.

Isaacson said although every business could not receive funding fro the emergency loans, other programs and resources are available for assistance.

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