In Their Own Words: Small Business Owners Speak Out in Support of Heroes Act

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, May 15, 2020

After more than a month of confusion and frustration, small business owners are hopeful that PPP will be reformed to fit their needs

Washington, DC – Today, ahead of the U.S. House of Representatives vote on the Heroes Act, a $3 trillion dollar COVID-19 stimulus plan that contains critical reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Small Business Majority released the following comments from network members from across the country. In their own words, several entrepreneurs explain the challenges with the current PPP structure, their personal experiences in the wake of the pandemic, and support for broadening the parameters of PPP. The PPP reforms include extending the length of time a business has to spend the loan, removing the threshold that businesses must spend 75% of the loan on payroll, and greater assistance for businesses with 10 employees or less. 

“As the COVID-19 pandemic started, I was ending a two-year process of becoming the owner of the business I had helped build for the last 13 years. It was one of the happiest days of my life to finally get that contract signed. But then, the unimaginable happened and business came to a screeching halt due to travel warnings and stay-at-home orders. I was left with no choice but to lay off and reduce staff hours, and wondered if I was going to lose my investment,” said Melissa Medick, owner of Beechnut Kennels in Edgewater, Maryland. “I applied for PPP as soon as applications opened and was fortunate enough to be approved during the first round of funding. After receiving the loan, I brought back my whole team despite business being down. At the time, I did it without question. It was the purpose of the program and I wanted to do right by my employees. Now, over a month later, I am still waiting for guidance to guarantee that I am using the loan properly. Without guidance or an extension of the spending period, I fear that my loan will not be forgiven despite my best efforts, which would be devastating. I also face laying everyone off again on June 3oth without further support. The Heroes Act would go a long way in reforming the program to better fit the needs of my business.”

“Since PPP launched, I have had my reservations about the program--namely that it has the potential to saddle me with more debt and that the size of the loan will not be enough to offset the losses I have sustained. However, like millions of other struggling business owners I was left with no other choice but to apply for PPP,” said Luisa Santos, owner of Lulu’s Ice Cream in Miami, Florida. “Now as my home state continues to slowly reopen, I, like so many other small business owners, are left to use the funding in an eight-week period regardless of the fact that my business would be better served using the loan over a longer length of time. With business down and the catering arm of my business entirely closed, it does not make smart business sense to rush to spend the money, when recovery will be ongoing for months to come. I am glad to see Congress is considering proposals like the Heroes Act, and call on my Representative and Senators to push for this legislation to become law.”

“The retail industry will be changed forever as a result of coronavirus, and businesses need time to adjust. Unfortunately, the PPP’s limitations on time and how the money can be spent does not give the industry the flexibility it needs to adjust its business model,” said Mike Roach, co-owner of Paloma Clothing in Portland, Oregon. “Retailers and all business owners need the latitude to determine when it is best to bring staff back on payroll and spend the assistance in a responsible manner that maximizes the value of the loan. Each day that passes with the current PPP structure in place, is another day that business owners are forced to make hurried decisions in the face of what will be a long-term recovery. I urge Congress and the Administration to not delay any further in reforming PPP as outlined in the Heroes Act.”

For members of the media that wish to speak with small business owners about their experiences with PPP or policy experts, please contact Aimee Brierly at [email protected].

About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 65,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.