Coronavirus Diary: Help arrives

We received our PPP loan!

Because of the corporate structure of Browsers’, the bank couldn’t process my application for about two weeks. The very same day that they began to process loans for my type of business, the SBA ran out of money! Over the course of the next week or two, quite a number of huge corporations that received millions or hundreds of millions of dollars through this program began to return the money. As they did, I started getting notifications that my loan application was working its way through the various stages. Congress passed another stimulus measure, but because of the timing of my loan application, I think our money came from the returned money. I want to thank these corporations for stepping up and doing the right thing. You helped thousands of small businesses, including little ol’ Browsers’ Bookstore.

Anyway….I’ve been able to hire back four employees for between half and most of their pre-covid hours. It’s a start. When we open up to the public, some of those hours might be expanded, but we’re going to need to go slowly.

Browsers’ doesn’t actively pursue all the programs available to small business, in large part because I don’t want assistance to become a crutch. We used programs to help us get the solar panels on the Albany store–solar panels are the right thing to do, but they were not financially feasible without the small grant and the payment assistance we received–that loan was paid off in about five years.

Just like the solar panels, we could not afford to hire back even this reduced staff all at once. But, with the forgivable portion of the PPP loan, we are able to get them back to work right away. And now is when I need them the most because I’ve made a mess of the store during the past month and a half, working largely by myself…and if there’s the possibility of opening in a week (?!?), then we’ve got some serious cleaning and organizing to do!