Local business owners weigh in on small business federal assistance

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) -The federal government created the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan for small businesses. The funds have run out, meaning some businesses can’t receive the money. And other businesses are questioning if the loan is truly beneficial.

Anthony Cronin is the owner of Get and Go grocery mart located on Lafayette street.
With the major destruction happening to the United States economy, he is one of the many small mom and pops taking a major hit while the economy tries to brace itself for the worst.

“I am doing everything I can to pay my employees but I can’t expect them to work for free either,” said Cronin. “They got families and bills too.”

Under President Donald Trump’s trillion-dollar stimulus package, the Paycheck Protection Program, was for small business to pay their employees during the coronavirus crisis. Cronin applied for the PPP in early April; however, the Small business Administration announced that the funds have run dry and many small business owners like Cronin are shut out in the cold.

“I got a letter saying that I was approved, but there is no more funding. I can’t understand that,” said Cronin. “Trillions Trump gave us, trillions and it’s gone?”

Bob Thomas of Bob Thomas Ford Fort Wayne, says the pandemic has shut down his business. He has received his PPP but its process wasn’t easy.

“The banks really got caught in a windstorm of all of this,” said Thomas. “God bless them, most of them came through and did a pretty good job as far as I know. It was tough.”

Thomas says the program is a crapshoot when determining how to use the funds. He isn’t sure if this is a true solution or just a quick temporary fix.

“Do I keep my people employed, pay them for that period of time and then at the end of the two months after exhausting all of the funds and then where am I,” said Thomas. “I might just be going out of business anyways. So they may have kept their employees employed for two months only to have to lay them off two months later.”

Thomas said he knows the economy will not shake back in two months and business owners are faced with a tough decision when it comes to the PPP.

If the economy is still pretty much dead in the water and it’s going to take 6-months for the economy to regenerate itself, well those businesses might end up going out of business anyway,” said Thomas. “They may have kept their employees for two months but only to lay them off two months later. On the other hand, if they laid everybody off they didn’t qualified for the grant but at the end of the two month period they will still have the money in the bank, which they would have to repay with one percent interest, but at least there will be cash there to get them through the next three to five months.”

Thomas said he will use the PPP to pay his employees and if the captain has to go down with the ship, at least he knows they were all in this together.

All eyes are now on President Trump’s administration and Congress to see if there will be additional funding for the PPP program.

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