FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s been one year since the Paycheck Protection Program was established, to help small business owners keep their doors open.
The program has helped many businesses around the Tennessee Valley.
When the pandemic first started Sandi McGee had no idea her business, Geronimo, would be closed for six weeks.
“When that extended out, you know, it got scary and bankers and accountants and all the people around us were dealing with the unknown and so it was a little scary,” said McGee.
She said the Paycheck Protection program made all the difference in being able to keep her company afloat while their doors were closed.
“There is no doubt that the PPP kept us in a place to where we are going to be OK and without the PPP I would have essentially lost every bit of the momentum that I’ve built over the 14 years that we’ve been open,” said McGee.
Like her business, the PPP program has helped many small businesses across the U.S, sending over $700 billion in forgivable loans to struggling businesses in the last year.
McGee said the pandemic has pushed her to be creative in keeping the door of her business open.
“I know its made me a better owner and I’m hoping that it’s really pushed us all to a limit where we had to think outside the box,” said McGee.
Not only did she receive the first and second round of PPP loans, but she also received the Florence First Grant, a relief grant offering special economic assistance to small businesses which she said kept the momentum of her business going.
“I mean it made all the difference, it really did. We’re thriving. We see more and more people coming back daily, but we know that if we hadn’t been able to stay valid and keep our clients in the know of what we were doing and what we were working towards, without the PPP, without the Florence First, it would have been a different story,” said McGee.
To this day, PPP continues to deliver, with Congress extending the program until May 31.