Gresham firm ‘hits brick wall’ with SBA loan program

Many small businesses struggle to access the federal government’s paycheck protection program

PORTLAND, Oregon (KOIN) – Like many small business owners in Oregon, Terri and Todd Johnson struggle to keep their business alive.

They own the Countryside Pet Resort and Spa in Gresham, which provides boarding and boarding services to pet owners. Under normal circumstances, they would take care of dozens of dogs when owners go on vacation. But the coronavirus pandemic has put an end to their activity.

The Johnsons tried to claim the $ 349 billion from the federal government Paycheque Protection Program. It’s part of the emergency stimulus bill approved by Congress last month and is designed to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll. If all employees are on a company’s payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities, the SBA will cancel the loan.

It’s a popular safety net for obvious reasons and one the Johnsons jumped on after putting six of their nine employees on leave.

“To have our staff come back – that would be amazing – and help pay the mortgage to stay open,” said Terri Johnson.

Terri Johnson is the owner of the Countryside Pet Resort and Spa in Gresham with her husband on April 10, 2020 (KOIN)

But the family, like many other small business owners, encountered obstacles in trying to access the program.

Although they have never taken on debt and never taken a business loan in the past, the Johnsons said their bank was unable to secure the SBA loan for them.

“They are now allowed to give loans, but they cannot access the SBA website, so we hit a brick wall. We went to the national banks to try to get a loan through them and there is always a reason for that, ”said Terri Johnson. “All of these things are happening beyond your control. ”

Countryside Pet Resort and Spa remains open… for now. Owners have been thinking about ways to stay in business, such as offering dog training courses online. They are also asking pet owners to consider dropping their pets off at daycare if they need help focusing on running a home office. Critical workers may also want to take advantage of the service.

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