2 local businesses see 2 different results when applying for Paycheck Protection Program

Updated: Apr. 22, 2020 at 4:28 PM EDT
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POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) - We have the story of 2 small businesses seeing 2 different results when owners tried to get loans because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mechanics do the work at Jim's Auto. They have for more than 40 years – with never a layoff. But it looked like that streak might end.

“I didn't think anybody was going to pay my payroll around here for 10 weeks and not make me pay the money back. It sounded to good to be true to begin with,” said Bill Hawn, owner, Jim's Auto.

Hawn applied for some of the government's $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program. It was part of a $2 trillion stimulus bill. But like countless other small businesses, he got squat.

“I never really had free money just handed to me. I'm not one of those people,” Hawn said.

Thirty miles away in Potsdam, Christopher Durand got the opposite result. He has a PPP loan in hand, allowing him to keep 10 employees on.

“It would have been my wife, myself, and my manager running the store. I would have had to lay off all my employees,” said Durand, co-owner, Three Bears Bakery & Cafe.

If the 10 employees are kept on for eight weeks, the loan is forgiven.

Back at Jim's Auto, no one's giving up. Congress is poised to put up another $310 billion. Hawn is hoping for a slice of that.

“I've been here for 41 years and I'm pretty sure I'm going to stay right here. I don't think I'm going to retire anytime soon,” he said.

But it's tough. Jim's Auto has days with no repairs scheduled. Durand can't seat anyone at his bakery. Sales have dropped by half.

Small business owners have so many questions these days. The first one, of course, is when will the economy reopen? And then what happens?

They’re getting some hope from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to open the state by region. But they also see problems ahead, such as increased unemployment taxes.

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