‘The PPP will help us’: RVA business owner hopes to get funding after SBA reopens loan program


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After the Small Business Association reopened the Paycheck Protection Program, they said around 60,000 small businesses have been approved for forgivable loans to keep their businesses running during the pandemic.

One of the owners at Southbound, a restaurant in Bon Air, said without this funding, they may be forced to close. They have applied for around $190,000 in loans to help pay bills and to pay their employees.

“It’s just a waterfall of problems for everyone,” said Lee Gregory, co-owner and chef of Southbound.

Gregory said the restaurant was approved for a first round of funding, which helped them keep their doors open through the summer, when business went down 40% to 50% due to the pandemic.

“All of us, I’m sure, have asked our landlords and everyone for help, but, you know, those guys are in the same position we’re in,” he said.

Federal loans and changing business models to include to-go orders have helped Southbound stay afloat, but Gregory said the customers are what keep their doors open.

“To-go food might help you pay some of the bills, but really it’s people in there, you know, ordering an extra glass of wine or an extra beer … that kind of thing that really, really just saves you in the restaurant business,” Gregory said.

Southbound was able to get around $150,000 in funding from the SBA in one of the first rounds of funding, and has applied for around $190,000 in the second round. After the extensive application process with the first round of funding, Gregory said he hopes the process for this second round of funding will be quicker than last time.

Gregory said the PPP will get them through the next few months until the summer time when everyone is hopefully vaccinated.

To be eligible for this second round of funding, businesses need to have less than 300 employees, have spent all of the first loan on items approved by the SBA, and have seen at least a 25% decrease in gross sales between 2019 and 2020.

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