City small business have already started receiving checks
Business owners: “the difference between being there at the end or not” – “helping adjust to the way that the economy has suddenly changed“ – “without the help…I wouldn’t be able to make it.”
Syracuse, N.Y. —Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh today announced that 29 small businesses in the City of Syracuse have been approved to receive zero-interest loans from the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation (SECDO) COVID-19 Emergency Relief Program. A special loan review committee considered more than 60 applications since the program opened on March 23 and provided short-term financing to businesses operating in 16 different neighborhoods across the City.
“SEDCO has already issued checks to the first round recipients, and more are going out now. I am very grateful that the Emergency Relief program is providing assistance so quickly to small businesses in our community and I want to thank the SEDCO board and staff for their swift action,” said Mayor Walsh. “The strong demand for funds is clear evidence of the significant need that still exists in our small business community. For applicants who didn’t receive funding, SEDCO and the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development will continue to provide guidance and direction to other sources of assistance.”
The program loan committee, made up of Board Members and City of Syracuse staff, evaluated applications in three rounds to expedite the approval process. The loan requests totaled more than $1.1 million, more than twice the amount of funding available. The majority of successful loan recipients sought assistance in adapting their business models to function during the pandemic.
The industries range from food service, transportation and manufacturing, to retail, automotive, and personal services. Twenty approved borrowers qualify as essential businesses based on the New York State definition; three identified as minority/immigrant/refugee-owned businesses, and two are actively serving first responders with products or services.
“We were heading toward a very good year when the pandemic hit. All of the projects we were working on, many of them in higher education, were stopped, and we don’t know for how long. Some may not get going again for a full year,” said Laura Cueva, president and chief executive officer of Interior Innovation, a certified minority- and woman-owned business interior design and contract furniture business with four employees. “Without the help of the Emergency Relief program, I wouldn’t be able to make it. I really, really appreciate the assistance of the City with this loan.”
“Our locations rely heavily on foot traffic of people taking breaks from their work day. That business has been obliterated,” said Matt Godard, owner and president of Café Kubal, a fast, casual café with seven locations specializing in locally roasted coffee and light fare. “The Emergency Relief program is helping Café Kubal adjust to the way that the economy has suddenly changed. It will also help us deal with the permanent effect of how consumer behaviors are going to change. We are investing in a mobile app-based delivery infrastructure to be more on-demand in neighborhoods where people are.”
“We decided to close on March 14 because we believed we couldn’t practice safely without risking spreading the disease or catching it,” said Ed Griffin-Nolan, owner of the Spa at 500, a wellness center offering massage therapy, a salon, an exercise center and multiple other community programs. “I’m glad the City stepped up because for businesses like ours, there is no time to waste. We needed this kind of help to keep things going. It can mean the difference between being there at the end or not.”
The first round of applicants to receive loans and complete agreements with SEDCO received checks in the mail last week. Others will receive funds after completing loan agreements. For those businesses located in the City of Syracuse still seeking financial assistance, SEDCO is accepting applications that will be reviewed through its traditional lending process with its limited remaining available funds. More information is available at www.syrgov.net/SEDCO.