Small businesses looking to federal grants to get through pandemic

Coronavirus

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Danny Givens, who owns Givens Books & Little Dickens, says that like all brick and mortar stores, he’s taken a hit during the pandemic.

“We’re trying to come through this as a small community, and we feel our loyal customers are really what are helping us and what are saving us right now.”

He says a lot of those loyal customers are ordering books online and using curbside pickup, but it’s provisions passed in the $2 trillion recovery bill that will also help him.

“Loans/grants that are going to be available real soon to help with cash flow, to help with payroll, things like that,” he said. “We’ll probably tap into that and I think those are supposedly accessible in the next week or so, so that will definitely help with the struggle here.”

Senator Tim Kaine spoke with the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance about these measures on Wednesday.

“If you get the loan through an SBA lender,” said Kaine, “many of you work with those lenders already, and you keep your payroll intact, the loan will be forgiven. It will be converted into a grant.”

Kaine says the bill had to be written quickly and he says there’s a lot they couldn’t get right, things that might not be obvious right away.

“‘Why haven’t I gotten an answer from the SBA? I was supposed to get eviction and foreclosure relief, it’s really hard to get answers about it,'” he said, presenting hypotheticals. “If you see implementation issues, reach out to our office, because some we can fix or we can fix together with the administration, probably without new legislation.”

In the long-term, Givens hopes Congress will pursue changes to the tax code that will help small businesses like his compete with online retailers and mega-corporations.

In the meantime, he says one product has been flying off the shelves due to stay-at-home orders.

“Puzzles! Puzzles are actually seeing a triple increase in sales!”

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