Cash strapped small business owners look for relief while PPP is stalled

Posted at 7:17 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 11:47:28-04

(WXYZ) — Amidst this pandemic, many of us have reached lows we never could have imagined.

But here we are, trying to work through this new normal, both mentally and financially.

we know it hasn’t been easy. So yesterday we kicked off a special new initiative The Rebound Detroit, our effort to bring you the resources and guidance you need to navigate this long road to recovery.

The Rebound Detroit is all about bouncing back. And for small businesses, that means getting loans.

A popular Small Business Administration loan program has been over-run with demand. And while those funds are expected to be replenished, I took a look at what cash strapped owners should be doing in the meantime.

“We started thinking about the bills, because we still have to pay the rent on the building, still have to pay the utilities on the building,” says Stella Giannini.

Stella and Kevin of Clinton Township have been anxious as of late. The husband wife duo are the owners of specialty flooring company Creative Surfaces.

“Have you ever been in a Chipotle?” Stella asks. “When you go in, that’s all polished concrete floors, we do that and in the back of the house where they have the kitchens, we do the resinous flooring.”

In business now for 12 years, some of their big clients include Chipotle Mexican Grille, and even Taco Bell. It’s been a successful ride, but like many small businesses amid this pandemic, things have taken a turn.

“One day we were working, the next day it was, we’re closed, we had to call everyone, you can’t come in, please file for unemployment,” Stella says. ”We kept thinking how are we going to keep the employees if they’re not working.”

Worried about the eight employees on their payroll, the couple applied for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Made possible by the stimulus bill, the loan is forgiven so long as it's used to cover payroll costs.

“I was notified that we had been approved, but they’re not sure how it’s going to work because the money had run out,” she says.

An email from Citizens Bank notified the couple that the SBA had exhausted its 350 billion dollars in allocated funds, as congress tries to come up with more funding.

But SCORE, a non-profit providing free business resources says it’s not a reason to feel discouraged, urging loan seekers to use this time wisely.

“Entrepreneurs need to have all of their financial paperwork prepared and ready for submission - the other thing they need to do is set up a new operating budget because, now, they’re operating in a new normal,” says Armando Ojeda with SCORE Detroit.

Also don’t forget -- the PPP loan is not the end all be all.

“There’s a lot of county money, state money and programs emerging, so they should be out there on a scavenger trying to find the money they need,” says Ojeda.

So here’s The Rebound Rundown:

  • Don’t back down on applying for the PPP loan
  • Get your financials submitted in the system
  • And don’t ignore the other county/state programs for which you may be eligible

That scavenger hunt can be stressful for many, and we will continue to bring you resources to help you find those answers.

We heard that in the dozens of emails we received after our reports yesterday, one from Martin who wants to know;

“I’m a very small business owner. I didn’t get the SBA loan. Can I file for unemployment?”

The answer is yes. On April 15th unemployment benefits were extended to the self-employed. So, Martin you are eligible. I encourage you to file online and pack your patience as it is not a quick process.

Please keep those questions coming email us at

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