Small Businesses Find Difficulty Paying For Loans, Receiving Grants To Reopen After Sandy
For small businesses struggling to come back from Hurricane Sandy, a grant is hard to come by because the federal Small Business Administration doesn't offer them --loans have been hard to get as well. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Edwin Cosme's electronics store was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and, for now, he has to pay for all his lose goods on credit because he was just denied a loan.
"It's been a tough ride," Cosme said. "It's been consuming -- overwhelming -- to say the least."
For some of the 13,000 small businesses hit by Hurricane Sandy loans from the federal Small Business Administration often aren't enough.
With interest rates at at least 4 percent, business owners say the can't afford the loan while others can't even qualify.
"They may not have the financial statements to show that they are operating at a profit," said Dominick Concilio from Citywide Income Tax. "They may not even get the loan, that's why they are looking for grants."
The city started a $15 million loan program and some businesses could be eligible for a matching grant.
The program gives out loans that have no interest for the first six months. Rates only go up to 1 percent for up to 24 months after that.
"Small business, low interest loans are not going to save every business," Rep. Michael Grimm said. "We need to do more."
But here in Coney Island, business owners said even that is not enough. They said they would try to reopen, but many lost all of their inventory.
Praveen Appana, owner of Balaji Pharmacy, lost around $500,000 in product.
"We are not getting enough help," he said.
Some business owners on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island said if they don't get grants or if loans aren't made more affordable, some businesses just won't come back.
"If 50 percent of the businesses reopen that would surprise me," Concilio said.
Some local leaders said more has to be done to help reopen the storefronts.
"FEMA ought to have a grant program for small businesses," Rep. Jerrold Nadler said. "It does not now."
"We have to make sure the small businesses open," City Councilman Domenic Recchia said. "If they don't, people have nowhere to go."