Heartland small businesses benefit from Paycheck Protection Program loans during pandemic

Heartland small businesses benefit from Paycheck Protection Program loans during pandemic

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Paycheck Protection Program is helping small businesses in the Heartland survive the pandemic.

“The economic uncertainty across the board is real,” said Aaron Panton, Community Bank President at The Bank of Missouri.

Panton see’s that uncertainty for small businesses.

“The small business community across this area, across the region is the life blood. It’s what keep us going,” he said.

To help those small businesses keep their doors open, many owners are applying for Paycheck Protection Program, PPP, loans. The loans can help cover payroll costs, rent, and utilities for businesses that qualify.

“The demand’s high. I think the need is real. I think the program itself is timely and impactful,” said Panton.

Small business owners could apply for the first round of PPP loans last March. According to Panton, about 1,500 Bank of Missouri clients applied last Spring. The program re-opened January 13th, and so far they’ve received about 250 applications.

“It was nice for her to be able to have everybody still stay and get their full pay,” said Barb Frolker, who is a manager at Mississippi Mutts in Cape Girardeau.

She said they’ve had to think out of the box to bring in business and added curbside and delivery services. The Mississippi Mutts employees also support other small businesses in the area to give back during this time.

“The first round back when the state shut down, Sherry applied for the PPP, and that took a lot of the worry off of her. And with being able to have a full staff because of the PPP, we could do lots of innovative things and cater to all the people that were coming in and supporting small business,” she said.

“We’ve seen that money get to work and work quickly and make a pretty significant impact. I like to look at it as a ripple effect throughout the community that starts with that small business going through that process,” said Panton.

Panton recommends asking banks about COVID-19 relief options.

The Bank of Missouri hosts Zoom meetings twice a week to answer questions for small businesses. If you’re interested in participating, contact Nita Pickens to RSVP at apickens@bankofmissouri.com. The Zoom link is here.

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