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Navigating small business aid isn't easy amid coronavirus

Navigating small business aid isn't easy amid coronavirus
Navigating small business aid isn't easy amid coronavirus(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 10:27 PM CDT
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The impacts on small business from the coronavirus shutdowns is already seen as owners wait for the long-term impact.

Even with state and federal money getting freed up for loans and grants, some business owners may need help to figure out how all of the aid works.

“We’re just asking people to come out during this time and give us the opportunity to be open for another 37 years,” said Joensy’s owner Brian Joens.

Joensy’s has been a cornerstone in the Northeast side of Iowa City for nearly 40 years with its staple tenderloin. Brian Joens said since the Governor ordered restaurants and bars to work on drive-through and delivery only, his business is down about 50%.

“I’ve tried to sing-up for different government packages and so far, we’ve been denied for everything we’ve signed up for,” he said.

He was denied unemployment but he might qualify for a small business grant the governor just announced this week or a federal loan through the SBA. However, Joens said he needs help with the process.

“We don’t really know about all the possibilities or opportunities that are out there,” he said. “We see Governor Reynolds and President Trump talking about these opportunities, but for me to find them on a computer is difficult.”

That’s where David Hensley and the John Pappajohn Center at the University of Iowa come in.

“Many small businesses are facing a significant financial crunch,” Hensley said.

Hensley said small business owners can come to them and figure this out. While loans and grants are a good start, he said these businesses are going to have to get a little more help to stay open.

“For us to get through this and maintain as many small businesses as possible, we’re going to have to work together,” he said. “The banks are going to have to be helpful, landlords are going to have to be helpful and businesses are going to have to work together to help everybody get through the short term financial challenge.”

Hensley said asking for that help isn’t easy, but a lot of support is going to be needed in order to keep businesses like Joensy’s and its tenderloins open for years to come.

“We’re just asking people that if they can support any local small business it would make a huge difference,” Joens said.