GLADSTONE, Mo. — If you are a small business owner, you’re probably surrounded by a lot of paperwork right now. If you used to work for a small business owner until a couple of weeks ago, you probably are happy they are surrounded by that paperwork.
On Friday, April 3, the Small Business Administration opened up the Paycheck Protection Program; forgivable loans to help businesses cover salaries and some costs for the next two months.
The phone rings constantly at Longboards on North Oak in Gladstone. Every time that phone rings, a wrap gets made. Every time a wrap gets made, it gets taken out to a customer in a waiting car.
And every customer waiting outside Longboards means there’s a reason for Blake Banard to be inside Longboards.
“Every day,” the store’s manager said, “I’m thankful that I can come in, still have my normal hours, and work around people I like.”
Barnard’s worked here for almost three years now. He’d like to continue, especially in these uncertain times.
Longboard’s Owner John Bailey wants that too. His business has dropped 60% in the last few weeks at his six area locations.
“The biggest thing for us is just getting everybody back to work, and getting everybody paid and having them feel financially secure,” Bailey told FOX4 over Skype Saturday morning
He’s spent a lot of time on his computer this week, compiling everything he needs to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program from the Small Business Administration. It’s part of that $2 trillion CARES Act, authorizing up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
“If you boil it down, they’re saying that ‘We will pay for your payroll, your rent, and your mortgage for two months. In exchange for that, you have to send people back to work,'” Bailey said.
It took Bailey several days to get the right documentation together.
“They are asking for a lot of information,” he said. “None of it’s hard, it’s just hard to put together.”
The sooner he gets the loan, he said, the sooner he will bring back his 70 employees. Though carry-out only business won’t be able to keep all of them busy, he’s looking for other things for them to do: deep cleaning, wall-painting, chair fixing.
“I don’t want to say that this is fun by any means, but certainly were going to try to make the best of it,” Bailey said.
Barnard welcomed the additional help as he worked on yet another wrap; the Gladstone location is the busiest.
“It’ll be nice to have a full crew. We were a little shorthanded there for a couple of weeks. It was really tough, really tiring. But now we can bring our crew back, and it will be nice.”
This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons, private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by the coronavirus.
Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.
Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible if their individual locations employ less than 500 workers.