Local small businesses worry they’ll never see federal aid

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SAN DIEGO – Hundreds of billions of dollars may be heading to small businesses, but many local San Diego County shops and restaurants say they doubt they’ll ever see a dime.

“Oh no, no one in town got it,” said small business owner Lori Tilley of the first wave of federal money. Tilley owns “Coffee, Corks and Cuisines” in Fallbrook. “We’ve all been talking, and no one got it, and on the next round there’s no guarantee.”

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors tried to provide hope Tuesday when they approved a $5 million pool of money for small-business loans. The loans will be limited to 2% interest or lower, and the payback period will be around 5 years, once the details are worked out.

“I’ve heard the complaints from many people,” said Supervisor Jim Desmond. Speaking to people in the county via Zoom Tuesday, he said businesses could get loans for as much as $50,000, though many will be much small, in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. 

“Our intention is to get this money out fast, as fast as we can,” he said. 

Desmond said small business owners concerned about filling out the application correctly can reach out to his office directly via email.  He said that his office can notify business owners when the applications become available so they don’t miss the boat.

Tilley said the additional loan money will be great for many in town, just not her.

“I would just be getting deeper in the hole,” she said . She doesn’t want any more loans, but she is still hoping to get her hands on federal grant money. “Open today, bankrupt tomorrow.”

Financial expert Brett Gottlieb said small businesses that missed out on the first wave of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) are likely already in the running for the second wave. He said if you have filled out your application with your lender and already received confirmation, then all you can do is sit back and wait. 

On the other hand, for those who have yet to apply he said apply immediately,. He suggests working with a small lender that might be able to communicate with you more easily.

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