Owners Thankful For The Help, But Say They Need Customers To Return, Too

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While some stores were mobbed the day after Thanksgiving for Black Friday sales, hundreds of other businesses were shuttered — still closed after Superstorm Sandy.

But that may not be the case for much longer. As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Friday, an infusion of loans is now available to small business owners.

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Like hundreds of Long Island businesses, the Cuban Crocodile was filled with flood water. Restaurant supplies, the boiler and water heater were destroyed. Down the block from the eatery, the dry cleaner is re-opened, but businesses is anything but brisk.

“We’re open but these people don’t have the money, the time,” said Kevin Donald of Go Green Dry Cleaning. “They are trying to survive, and we’re trying to survive, too.”

Merchants in store after store in storm-ravaged communities — many still closed — are dealing with a double blow. Sandy destroyed their homes, and now they’re losing their incomes.

But some store owners said they are hoping new loans made available by the state will help.

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The Small Business Emergency Loan Fund offers $25,000, at 1 percent, payable over 30 months — with the first six months interest-free. Checks can be in the hands of merchants in as little as five days.

State Economic Development Commissioner Kenneth Adams said the quick access to funds can help store owners buy equipment, pay the contractor and buy new inventory as businesses reopen for the holidays.

“That gives people time to catch their breath and start the business coming back, before they have to start paying it back,” he said.

Merchants said the loans will help, but what they really need for the long term is for the shoppers to come back, too.

There is $10 million available in the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, and they will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, officials said.

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