BABYLON, N.Y.(CBSNewYork) — When the nation’s initial Small Business Administration funding ran out, Babylon dress shop owner Paula Evangelista was among hundreds of thousands of applicants whose loans did not get processed.
“Where are they helping the small businesses, that’s what I want to know,” said Evangelista in an interview with CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan. “I am extremely frustrated.”
On Monday, for the second time in a month, the relief effort called the Paycheck Protection Program turned to chaos when the online portal for submitting applications crashed.
The loans are forgivable if certain criteria is met.
Evangelista is like many others that are desperate for that money in order to keep the doors open.
“I have my life invested in this business, my life,” said Evangelista.
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For 35 years, Evangelista has owned a boutique dress shop focused on proms and special events. Recently, she expanded to the Village Bridal Shop.
But with proms and weddings canceled, despite customers’ down payments of 50% for their one-of-a-kind orders, she is left holding the bag for the remaining half.
“I need to pay these bills, and these dresses that I have sitting in the back, I have hundreds and hundreds of dresses and tens of thousands of dollars,” she said.
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No one wants the dresses. They’ve abandoned their plans and are now demanding refunds.
“Now, we are dealing with people that want money back for dresses that they bought prior to this pandemic,” said Evangelista.
It’s a catch-22, she says, for small business owners.
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Evangelista told CBS2 that if she gets the SBA forgivable loan, she may end up having to pay it back in full. Some of her employees indicate they may not return because they’re making more money staying home.