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Republicans divided over fixes for small business Paycheck Protection Program - CNN

Republicans divided over fixes for small business Paycheck Protection Program - CNN


Republicans divided over fixes for small business Paycheck Protection Program - CNN

Posted: 02 Jun 2020 02:03 PM PDT

Supervisors establish small business relief funding program - KESQ

Posted: 02 Jun 2020 07:03 PM PDT

Riverside County supervisors approved the establishment of an assistance program that will provide $45 million in grants to help small businesses enduring hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The program will provide a maximum $10,000 per grant recipient -- and only 4,500 will be selected because of the funding cap, officials said.

The program is open to small businesses based in cities and unincorporated communities of Riverside County. Businesses must apply online from June 3 to June 19.

Business owners can able to apply for the grant starting Wednesday at: https://rivcoccsd.org/covidbizhelp?fbclid=IwAR2fFL2_W5lvJA68DjJI76kQtDCgUhfrrC8aBjIVyGaz-izjC9nvABxorb0

The program's guidelines specify that nonprofits are not among those who can qualify for funds, and applicants that have received prior Small Business Administration relief loans tied to the health emergency, or that have accessed funding streams via the Paycheck Protection Plan also set up to address the economic impacts, are not eligible to apply for a grant, which does not have to be repaid.

What's more, businesses must have been in operation a minimum of one
year to qualify.

"We have to take what we can get and give it out as quickly as we can,'' Supervisor Karen Spiegel said ahead of the 5-0 vote in favor of the Small Business Assistance Grant Program, which relies on an allotment from the
federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security -- CARES -- Act signed into law by President Donald Trump in March.

The county received a total $431,091,226 in CARES funding, and the business assistance program is a permissible expense as part of that disbursal.

Small businesses are defined as those with 50 or less employees, and according to the county Economic Development Agency, there are 64,000 such enterprises countywide.

What's more, businesses must have been in operation a minimum of one
year to qualify.

Spiegel said the grant money can be used for a host of expenses, including capital investments, employee retention and purchasing health care equipment.   

The board designated Oakland-based Main Street Launch, a nonprofit that specializes in handling micro and other lending programs to promote economic development, as the manager of the Small Business Assistance Grant Program.

EDA Director Susan Holland had originally proposed a 10-day window for business operators to apply for grants, but Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and

Jeff Hewitt both disliked the narrow application period.   

"Ten days is a really fast turnaround time for businesses to get to work on this and fill out applications. We don't require that of anybody,'' Jeffries said.  

Hewitt said he did not feel mom and pop operations would be able to work sufficiently fast to apply.

"There are businesses who might not get the message and need longer
to do the paperwork,'' he said. "They might need an extra period of time
because they're slower like me. Right now, it's like the Oklahoma Sooners,
where we open up, and everybody runs out there to make a claim.''  

Jeffries also expressed concerns about turning the entire vetting process over to Main Street Launch.   

"How do we make sure the good ole boys who are well-connected in the county are not funded first?" the supervisor wondered. "This scenario seems like we're just letting $45 million go out the door, and then we'll look at it some other day.''

Holland assured him that Main Street Launch would be employing a "random'' selection method, adhering to basic criteria that EDA had put in
place. She also said regional chambers of commerce and business organizations were being made aware of the program and the availability of the grants.

The county's recently formed Economic Recovery Task Force, comprised of private interests and members of merchant advocacy organizations, is additionally out front, spreading the word, Holland said.

In order to ensure adequate time for proprietors to complete and submit applications, the board modified the 10-day window and extended the period for paperwork to be filed to June 19, effectively doubling the size of
the window.  

According to Spiegel, 96% of the county's commercial operations fall into the small business category.

For more detailed information including, eligible businesses, use of funds, required documentation and how to apply, visit https://rivcoccsd.org/covidbizhelp.

Coronavirus: Distillery snags Dodd’s ‘Small Business’ honor - Vallejo Times-Herald

Posted: 02 Jun 2020 02:57 PM PDT

Dave Phinney didn't just turn lemons into lemonade. He turned bourbon, whiskey and rye into hand sanitizer.

Sure, not exactly a fair trade to some. But during a pandemic — and a shutdown of businesses deemed "non-essential" — the owner of Savage & Cooke Distillery not only helped fill a desperate need, he kept 20 employees employed.

And it hasn't gone unnoticed.

For his "contribution to the community during this historic public health and economic crisis," state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, named Phinney's company Senate District 3 Small Business of the Year.

"Dave's ingenuity and thoughtfulness has allowed him to produce a potentially life-saving product while protecting his workers from unemployment," Dodd said in a Monday news release. "This is the very essence of why small businesses are so important to our community, and why we must support them. My hat is off to Dave and his team."

Phinney said late Monday afternoon he was "surprised and honored" when notified of the award.

Savage & Cooke General Manager Lauren Blanchard said Monday that the distillery has produced about 80,000 gallons of 80 percent alcohol hand sanitizer since it transitioned from consumable alcohol March 27. Ace Hardware, Frito Lay, and the United States Postal Service have been the three top clients.

The demand, Blanchard added, has remained "constant," undoubtedly helped when the distillery added 9-ounce plastic bottles May 11 to complement the start-up one-gallon containers.

Phinney said in the Dodd press release that "we are extremely humbled" by the selection, praising Blanchard and the rest of the distillery's staff.

"Small businesses everywhere are key to the state's economy. I am proud and honored," Phinney said.

Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan applauded Dodd's choice, saying he has been "absolutely impressed" with Phinney and the distillery since its 2018 Mare Island arrival.

Calling Phinney "a visionary," Sampayan said the Small Business of the Year Award "is well-deserved," with Savage & Cooke donating "many gallons of sanitizer to the faith community that has served the local homeless."

"Dave Phinney and Savage & Cooke is the epitome we in Vallejo want to see," Sampayan added. "He wants to give back, he wants to hire local people and he offers sustainable wages. I truly believe he is here for the betterment of our community and he's doing the right thing for Mare Island."

The "Small Business of the Year" is named in May and recipients are normally invited to the state Capitol to receive the honor, said Dodd spokesman Paul Payne.

Because of the coronavirus, this year's ceremony will take place Aug. 17, Payne added.

Dodd named a small business of the year for each of the six counties in Senate District 3. The Solano County choice was named overall winner "for its extraordinary contribution to the community during the pandemic."

Savage & Cooke receives a resolution and a certificate, said Payne.

Phinney said that while getting the award is appreciated, around the house, he's still Mr. Kim Phinney, with his wife rewarding him with "The list of what to pick up from the grocery store."

Gearing Up to Reopen Your Small Business? 3 Important Steps to Take - Kenosha News

Posted: 02 Jun 2020 06:18 AM PDT

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Gearing Up to Reopen Your Small Business? 3 Important Steps to Take

For much of April and May, small businesses suffered nationwide as stay-at-home orders forced non-essential operations to close their doors. Now that many parts of the country are starting to open back up, you may find that you're getting the green light to resume business as usual -- or as per the new normal. If you're gearing up to reopen, there are numerous financial and logistical considerations you'll need to account for. Here are three crucial steps to take as you plan to welcome customers in once again.

1. Implement safety and sanitizing procedures

It's certainly no secret that to open your business safely, you'll need to gear up to do things differently. That means limiting the number of people at your place of business at once, installing sanitizing stations, and doing regular deep cleans. It could also mean providing masks for customers to wear, and it should certainly mean providing masks and safety gear to the people who work for you. All of this is apt to cost money, so now may be the time to sit down and rethink your business's budget. You may need to make concessions in other areas to accommodate these new safety requirements, so the sooner you understand what financial investment you're looking at, the better.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

2. Address your staffing needs

Between the vast number of Americans who are struggling financially due to COVID-19 and the fact that in-store capacity may need to be limited for quite some time, you may find that once you reopen, you don't necessarily need the same number of staff members you once did. As such, it could pay to temporarily downsize staff to preserve the cash your business probably needs -- though keep in mind that if you received a PPP loan, laying off staff could compromise your ability to get that loan forgiven. On the flipside, you may find that some of your staff can't return to work due to child care constraints, or even health-related concerns. Have an open line of communication with the people who work for you and prepare to make some changes on the scheduling front.

3. Be flexible with your business model

If there's one thing a lot of small business owners have learned from COVID-19, it's the importance of adapting. Many local establishments that were shut down in April and May quickly pivoted to online orders and delivery, and were able to stay afloat as a result. As you reopen, think about the evolving needs of your customers and aim to accommodate as best as you can. You might, for example, consider retaining your online ordering and delivery model, or continuing to offer curbside pickup for customers who are nervous to enter your store. Or, you might consider implementing "senior only" hours to allow our more vulnerable population access to your inventory with less concern. Solicit feedback from customers regularly as you reopen and act on it.

Though you may be eager to open your business after weeks of being closed down, it's important to do so carefully. Budget for the new expenses you might face, assess your staffing needs, and continue adapting to these turbulent times so your business can survive the pandemic, and perhaps even thrive during it.

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North Augusta reallocates funding for new small business program - The Augusta Chronicle

Posted: 02 Jun 2020 08:00 AM PDT

The North Augusta City Council voted Monday to move funding from facade improvements to a new program aiding small businesses.

While the program's details have not been finalized, City Administrator Rachelle Moody said the program will offer small grants to small businesses in the area that have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. The council voted to fund the program with an approximate $25,000 that had been designated for the facade improvement grant program.

A maximum amount per grant is being set, and while that specific amount is still being finalized, Moody said grants would likely be $1,500 to $2,000 each. Recipients can be any business required to close for a period of time by the governor. This would include restaurants that have been able to provide take-out, but have not been able to operate at their full capacities.

The resolution passed on a 6-1 majority vote. Councilman Fletcher Dickert voted against saying the program is being introduced too late and without enough money to solve the issue.

"If we had done this as soon as all the businesses were closing...the $1,000, $2,000 that we as a local government are able to do would have been more beneficial," Dickert said. "It's a noble and good thing to do, but I just don't know how much benefit we're gonna do for small businesses."

Councilman Kevin Toole agreed with much of what Dickert said, but still voted for the resolution in the hopes that the program will help small businesses.

"It's only $25,000, I don't know that it necessarily makes a dent in anything," Toole said. "But, on the flip-side of that, it's only $25,000, and if a business wants to take advantage of it and it provides some support and help to them, I don't know that I would necessarily want to vote against providing that opportunity."

Moody said North Augusta may be able to receive compensation through the CARES Act for the amount that is being lost from the facade improvement program.

Moody said they are contacting the local Chamber of Commerce to gauge the interest of its members in partnering to fund further grants.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered non-essential businesses through out the state to close April 1, causing many to have to change their business models or, after a long period of little-to-no business, close entirely. The governor allowed restaurants to re-open dining rooms starting May 11 and lifted restrictions on close contact businesses, such as salon and barbershops, as well as exercise facilities starting May 18.

More coronavirus coverage

This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism and consider subscribing to The Augusta Chronicle at https://augustachronicle.com/subscribenow.

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