Federal P3 Loans Keep Madison County Businesses Afloat

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April 7 – ANDERSON – Jason Tello stepped into the New Year in January 2020 in hopes of starting a new Anderson-based business after building and designing structures for the entertainment industry and making connections since he was a teenager.

But almost as soon as he got T6 Truss Designs off the ground, his limited liability company was grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our industry has come to a halt. There were no concerts, no corporate events, no gatherings of any size, so it definitely affected our business,” he said.

T6 Truss Designs is one of hundreds of Madison County businesses that have relied on the two rounds of Paycheck Protection Program repayable loans offered in Spring 2020 and 2021. Although they can be used for various expenses Related to businesses, including utilities, interest on debt and health care, the majority of businesses, including T6 Truss Design, appeared to claim the money had been used for payroll.

It was the $ 77,200 and $ 45,300 in federal PPP loans that T6 Truss Designs was able to secure through Star Financial Bank that kept the company afloat as the world awaited the arrival of vaccines that would enable businesses. to reopen and people to venture out again, says Tello. By going into survival mode, he said, the company’s staff has been reduced from 15 to three.

“This, in my opinion, has been the savior of our business,” he said.

Inquiries, Tello said, are starting to turn into orders again.

“Things are opening up,” he said. “It’s getting a little better but it’s a long way to go. We hope there will be a rush, but that remains to be seen.”

Despite the challenges his start-up company has faced over the past year due to the pandemic, Tello said he didn’t think he would do anything differently.

“To be honest, I think I still would have tried to start this business when I did,” he said. “I just had the will to push forward, the will to succeed. Without that jump you never know, and I’m the type of person who doesn’t hesitate to jump.”

With watches and phones confiscated, Kim Bourke lost track of the outside world last March while attending a weekend church retreat in Gas City. But once released, she found the world had suddenly changed when Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued emergency orders for Hoosiers to stay home if their jobs were not seen as essential. , as defined by the orders.

“When we got there it was a shock,” she said. “It was happening pretty quickly. The next week was when it started and people said, ‘We’re going to keep the kids at home. “”

Without the $ 15,435 PPP, Bourke said, the legacy she has tried to build since 2016 at Lapel’s Olevia’s Gingersnaps would have evaporated. The daycare honors an aunt who once owned one of the homes used for babysitting while their parents were working.

“She has always loved children and we said, ‘Someday we can even turn your house into a daycare,” she said. “This house feels like home. It’s a bit like being at Grandma’s. “

Bourke said she learned of the PPP loans through her bank. While it helped, there could be a downside, she said.

“I haven’t seen what this will do to our taxes. You might not be able to claim it because you used this loan,” she said.

Although some of the 28 children continued to come after the start of the pandemic, most did not, forcing Bourke to downsize its staff to an additional employee. The other two, she said, were older women who weren’t interested in potentially exposing themselves to the coronavirus.

“This last year has been quite difficult because we had very few children left,” she said. “As the parents started to work harder, we got a lot of them back. It’s starting to improve a bit now. It seems I’ve been getting calls lately.”

The five weeks that cover spring break for school districts in Madison and surrounding counties have generally turned out to be among the highest income generating periods of the fiscal year for Key’s Kanine Kountry Klub in Alexandria. But that changed in 2020 when 7-year-old business owner Anita KeyBrobst started rolling back cancellations from January.

“We just died in the water,” she said. “We had tons of spring break reservations, and all of them were canceled.”

Frenzied customers also wondered about the non-refundable deposits they made for those 150 bookings.

“I couldn’t keep the money. I couldn’t do this to my clients. It wasn’t their fault if they had to cancel,” she said.

KeyBrobst said she first heard about the possible pandemic in early January, but never dreamed it would take on the proportions it has known, shutting down almost the entire country. She lost a handful of family members, including her mother, who died in the first week of the state of emergency while undergoing drug rehab at a nursing home, to COVID- 19.

“I prayed that we didn’t lose my business too, after six years of really good work,” she said.

She asked for $ 18,098, enough for about 10 weeks’ pay for her eight employees. Not knowing how things would turn out during spring break this year, she also applied for the latest round of P3 loans.

At first, KeyBrobst’s staff was reduced to herself and two part-time assistants. PPP loans, she said, gave her peace of mind.

“I was able to bring my staff back,” she said.

Business picked up in the fall, with the daycare, kennel and grooming service slowly returning at a relatively brisk pace by Christmas, KeyBrobst said. This spring break, she added, things are almost back to normal.

“This spring break has just opened,” she said. “They started taking the pictures and they felt comfortable traveling. We talked about how busy we have been and we love it.”

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.

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