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Emergency Loan Program Can Help Small Businesses Recover From Storm Damages

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TWC News: Emergency Loan Program Can Help Small Businesses Recover From Storm Damages
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The city Department of Small Business services has created an emergency loan program to help mom-and-pop stores in the wake of Sandy. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

On the eve of Sandy's arrival, Dawn Casale closed One Girl Cookies, her bakery in DUMBO the section of Brooklyn. Once the storm passed, she did not expect to return to a shop in ruins.

Four feet of water pushed its way inside the store, toppling tables and spreading debris.

"It was sort of heartbreaking. We had just opened in February so it was really hard to see our shop in that kind of condition," says Casale.

It took about a week for the power to turn on, but Casale says she and her staff went into immediate recovery mode, determined to reopen as quickly as possible. She estimates $80,000 to $90,000 in lost revenue and property damage.

One Girl Cookies is just of one of many city businesses reeling from Sandy.

"It is a major impact for small businesses to be empty and closed up for one day, two days, and in a case of a week it could be devastating for them," says City Small Business Service Commissioner Robert Walsh.

To assist in recovery, the city Department of Small Business services has created an emergency loan program.

"We teamed up with Goldman Sachs and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. We have a loan that for the first six months is zero interest, zero. The next six months is up to 1 percent interest, up to 24 months," says Walsh.

Businesses can apply for loans up to $25,000. However, Walsh says his department is offering guidance on other assistance available, including state and federal programs.

"The key thing is to get money to some of these entrepreneurs and small businesses that need it to pay their bills to make the repairs necessary to get open again," Walsh says.

Not wanting to take on any additional financial burdens, Casale is not applying for a loan at this time. As she works to rebuild One Girl Cookies, she hopes shoppers keep her and other small businesses in mind.

"When it's time to do holiday shopping or any other kind of shopping, that's going to have a large impact on the recovery," says Casale.

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