COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio’s small businesses look forward to another round of federal relief. Wednesday night, the Small Business Administration released details about a second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP2) included in the latest stimulus package.
When the first round of PPP loans became available in late summer, Buckeye Donuts, near the Ohio State campus, was beginning to flounder.
“From the get-go, [it’s been] a roller coaster,” said owner Jimmy Barouxis.
Barouxis took over the family business in 2001 and had been enjoying years of success as a 24-hour cornerstone of OSU campus culture. Business took a hit initially when Governor Mike DeWine ordered restaurants to close to in-person dining and issued a Stay at Home order in the spring.
Since then, revenue has dipped even more due to fewer students on campus, no fans at Buckeyes sporting events, fewer office workers picking up pastries on their way to work, and a 10 p.m. curfew virtually eliminating an overnight bar crowd. While this happened supply and ingredient costs were drastically increasing.
“Had we not gotten the PPP, I don’t know how long we could have kept our staff,” Barouxis said.
He explained some of the employees have worked at Buckeye Donuts for decades, and he refused to cut staffing to eliminate costs. Describing many of his staff members as “family.” Barouxis said he even gave hazard pay for the potential risks they were facing.
“We kept everyone on staff, in spite of taking the hit,” he said. “We kind of initially absorbed that loss because loyalty’s a very important thing in business.”
Buckeye Donuts received more than $101,000 in the first round of PPP loans. The money covered several months of payroll, in addition to some qualifying supplies.
The Ohio Restaurant Association sent information to the members and explained the changes to the second round of PPP loans, referred to as PP2.
The first program faced criticism when large and seemingly thriving businesses drained available resources before smaller shops could receive help. To prevent a similar situation, the new PPP requires business owners to prove at least a 25 percent gross revenue decline in a 2020 quarter which will be compared with the same quarter in 2019.
To qualify, they must employ fewer than 300 employees. Restaurants that have a carry-out can be eligible per location.
Qualifying businesses in general will receive up to 2.5 times their monthly payroll. Restaurants can receive up to 3.5 times their payroll, up to $2 million.
“Hopefully once they get it, maybe it’ll get them through January-February. That’s what we’re trying to do, bridge these incredibly tough months that are coming up,” said ORA President John Barker.
Barker explained the PPP, though helpful and often critical for the survival of many businesses, covers a fraction of lost revenue from 2020. Once a new White House administration begins work later in January, he plans to push for more relief.
Additionally, Barker believes restaurant workers should be included in Phase 1C of Ohio’s vaccination rollout plan. The ORA submitted a formal request to Governor DeWine and recognized there could be several months before the state is equipped to launch another phase.
Business owners like Barouxis are thankful for programs like PPP and worry the funds could dry up quickly. He anticipates business to remain slow through much of 2021.
“I see us being in this situation most of this year,” he said. “And I’m a pretty optimistic person.”