GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The COVID-19 pandemic has created an economic disaster with businesses closing and millions of people losing jobs.
The federal stimulus turned to the Small Business Administration to develop programs to keep businesses afloat and workers on the job.
Some Gulf Coast business owners have decided to take advantage of the opportunity to keep their doors open. Shelter in place orders and public health concerns have forced businesses to close and lay off employees.
These grave concerns weigh heavily on businesses that want to survive. ABC Rental has been in business for 53 years, and owner David Delk was worried.
“I thought this can’t be the end of this company. It was very scary that this might happen. I had sleepless nights. We have about 25 employees, and I was worried about their families. We didn’t know what to do,” Delk said.
Delk began the process of seeking an SBA loan to survive. He chose the Paycheck Protection Program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
“I felt like I really wanted to keep all my employees. We cut back on some hours, but I didn’t furlough anybody or lay anyone off. It was important to me personally, as someone who values my employees, to get the SBA loan that helps with payroll. I felt it had to be done so I went for it,” Delk said.
SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
Hancock Whitney Bank is one participating financial institution. While there was some confusion at first, Delk worked with the bank and his accountant. His patience paid off.
“Literally a week later, I was signing papers and I had the funds in the bank,” Delk said.
No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.