The head of the Small Business Administration visited Wilmington Monday to highlight programs to help businesses survive the pandemic.
SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman joined Sen. Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester at Stitch House Brewery on Market Street.
The brewery was one of about 50,000 Delaware businesses that received financial help from the SBA during the pandemic.
Rob Snowberger is one of Stitch House’s owners. He says the business got two rounds of PPP loans, a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and money from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
But Snowberger hopes the federal government will offer more low-interest loans for businesses in the future—because he’s not sure how commercial lenders will react to the fact that his business debt doubled during the pandemic.
“Ultimately, we don’t know what the consequences [will be of what] we did borrow to stay alive — what the consequence of that will be on our balance sheet,” he said. “Not only that, but when you have negative numbers for so long, you’re not exactly bankable.”
Guzman, who met with other owners of small businesses that received federal assistance, acknowledges the hardship is not over for those that were closed for long periods of time, are now facing labor shortages or are bracing for impacts of the Delta variant.
“We know that this is all related,and want to continue to try to work to support them with either immediate relief to carry them through this, or ongoing recovery support, technical assistance and loans for the future,” she said.
Guzman notes that tamping down transmission of the virus will be important for keeping businesses open and making it safe for employees to come back to work.
She adds that even though the PPP program has ended, there are still programs like the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan open.