AMES, Iowa — This week, the U.S. Small Business Administration began accepting applications for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program. The program is designed to help businesses pay employees and cover other business expenses.
Eric Abrams, who owns the Duck Worth Wearing, a clothing consignment store, with locations in Ames and Ankeny, is applying for what's called a second draw loan.
"We’re able to take the second round make sure our employees are paid and help replenish some of that cash reserve, so we can be ready for the next thing that may come along in the future," Abrams said.
Abrams and his wife Amy also own The Loft Resale in Ames. Combined, the couple employs more than 30 people. When the pandemic first hit and their stores were forced to close, the owners weren't able to keep their employees on the payroll.
"It was pretty nerve-racking during that time," Abrams said.
His wife added, "If we aren't able to take care of them, then everything else just falls apart."
The program allows eligible businesses to borrow two and half times their average monthly payroll. Eligible restaurants can borrow up to three and half times.
At least 60% of the money would have to go towards payroll costs. But the rest can help pay for other business expenses like COVID-related costs.
Dan Culhane, president and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce, said many of the businesses he works with benefited from the first round of relief.
"We’ve heard those who have said this was a lifesaver and other who said this helped continuity," he said.
While he believes many who applied the first time are gearing up to apply again, he also thinks many are hoping this is it.
"By and large our businesses think this is the last time this will have to occur," Culhane said.
Eric Abrams hopes his fellow business, who were discouraged by a tricky application process last time, will try again this time.
"I’m hoping others can. It's really not that hard of a process," he said.
To see if you qualify to apply, you can visit the SBA website for more details.