Smaller businesses ask customers to think big by shopping small


(WTNH) — Small businesses in Connecticut are hoping you will give local this Thanksgiving. Many are struggling and need your business. On Tuesday, Connecticut’s Small Business Administrator took to elected officials for a closer look.

Kate Hughes-Nelson owns Perk on Main in Middletown. She applied for the federal paycheck protection program. “It’s just allowing us to survive.”

Hughes-Nelson received more than $100,000 from the SBA program. Her loan came through Citizen’s Bank.

“We used it to pay rent, continue to pay our vendors, to get employees back on payroll and working.”

The coffee and sandwich shop has eighteen staffers and purchase a few pieces of new equipment to serve up specialties. Admittedly, she opened too soon after a brief shut down and the business just was not there.

“Hopefully the climate will improve in general and small businesses won’t go into debt just to survive,” added Hughes-Nelson.

Catherine Marx, the District Director for the Small Business Administration, says, “Through the invisible disaster of COVID-19 businesses have learned to adapt and adjust.”

64,629 Connecticut businesses applied for the PPP. $6,718,327,006 was loaned. There is a one-year deferment.

Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim reminds everyone, “The local restaurants and small businesses we offer in Middletown operate on incredibly tight margins.”

To overcome the economic crisis, they are asking you to think big and shop small.

Owners of The Man Cave didn’t take the federal money.

“We’re gonna fight through it and do everything we possibly can.” Ericka Whalen, owner of the tobacco and gift shop says, “I was kind of scared to take money and not know at that point if we were gonna make it.”

Instead, she is launching an online website to combat the lack of foot traffic.

“Not about us surviving and merchandise. It’s about hiring and keeping money in our communities,” added Whalen.

Borrowers can apply for forgiveness any time up to the maturity date of the loan. If borrowers do not apply for forgiveness within ten months after the last day of the covered period, then PPP loan payments are no longer deferred and borrowers will begin making loan payments to their PPP lender.

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