ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. (WWNY) - An iconic business along the St. Lawrence River is ready for 2021 after, like many businesses, needing help in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Last year, COVID forced the Bonnie Castle Resort to delay its opening until the end of June and miss out on summer dollars. The season seemed to be bleak, but the resort’s general manager says the federal Paycheck Protection Program really helped.
“The PPP loans worked very well for us because they covered a large percentage of our payroll and they covered a large percentage of our utilities,” said Mike Nadeau.
The resort canceled almost all of its weddings and they lost all Canadian customers because the border was shut down.
But the PPP loan through Watertown Savings Bank arrived right around the time Bonnie Castle reopened, which helped keep business going.
Adam Taylor, the resort’s sales manager, says despite the hurdles, 2020 was a better year than expected. He attributes part of that to having a large facility.
“You have all these spaces you can spread out with just you and your family. You don’t have to worry about social distancing,” he said.
Taylor says the Payment Protection Program really helped the resort maintain a high occupancy in its rooms.
“So, the funds allowed us to market to new audiences, to people who haven’t been to the Thousand Islands before,” he said.
Nadeau says he expects 2021 to be a better year than last year, mainly because they will be hosting weddings again.
“Not only does it keep people employed, it fills our hotel,” he said.
There are more reasons for optimism. Nadeau says all of their restaurants will be operating this season - as opposed to just one from last year. And as businesses like Bonnie Castle try to put the pandemic behind them, they are expecting a second round of PPP loans shortly.