Three-Quarters Of Verona Businesses Get Federal Pandemic Assistance

By on July 8, 2020

On Monday, the U.S. Small Business Administration released information on businesses that had received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According to the data, 298 Verona-based businesses received assistance, which is roughly three-quarters of the small business owners in town.

The SBA broke down the data on the 4.9 million loans made nationwide into loans under $150,000 and loans of $150,000 and above. There were no Verona businesses in the larger loan category, which identified recipients by name.

In the smaller loan file, businesses were identified only by their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. According to those codes, 16 Verona restaurants received PPP funds, along with 11 salons, three fitness businesses and two barbershops. Other codes in the Verona data were builders, contractors, retailers, home health care, supermarket, convenience stores, accountants and self-employed others, including artists, writers and performers.

The largest PPP loan made to a Verona business was $141,515, which went to an accounting business. The smallest loan in Verona was $197, to a fitness business. The average PPP loan in Verona was $32,618. The average size of all loans made nationwide was $106,744. The data released Monday does not include any awards made under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Verona businesses got their loans through several of the banks in town, as well as banks in other towns and online-only financial services companies.

According to the data of PPP loans under $150,000, there were 1,038 Montclair businesses that received awards, 223 Cedar Grove businesses and 499 businesses in Caldwell, North Caldwell and West Caldwell.

PPP loans were based on 2.5 times the small business’ payroll and needed to be used for payroll. Small businesses could not use any part of a PPP award to pay their mortgage, rent, utility or business vehicle costs, even if they ran a home-based business or needed the vehicle for their business. All loans of less than $2 million are being forgiven, so the Verona business owners will not need to pay back what they received.

Interviewed in May, many Verona businesses said that it had not been easy to apply for the PPP program, but credited Steve Neale, Verona’s director of administration and economic development, for his assistance in their efforts. Neale is gratified that so many received assistance, but remains cautious. “Hopefully people continue to support our local businesses as much as possible,” he said, “are safe while shopping and eating out and wear masks and follow all the safety protocols that have been put into place.”

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