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These Delaware companies secured COVID-19 loans and state grants

By on December 28, 2021 0

Delaware gave state grants and loans to 4,580 companies during the pandemic, according to data provided by the state.

Aid came from two state-run programs that have since been closed and totaled nearly $ 203 million.

The emergency hospitality loan program (called HELP) has provided zero-interest loans of up to $ 10,000 per month to hospitality-related businesses.

The state launched it early in the pandemic to help the then estimated 2,700 hospitality companies that are expected to take a heavy hit from the pandemic’s effect on the economy.

The loans were intended to cover immediate and unavoidable expenses.

The loan program was then expanded to include “personal care service” businesses such as barbers, barbers and nail salons, and beauty salons.

At the end of the program, which stopped accepting applications in October, 364 companies had received a total of $ 10.9 million.

This is much less than what has been provided by federally funded business assistance programs, such as DE Relief Grants, funded by the CARES Act, the Federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and the Federal Program. paycheck protection.

The primary beneficiary of the loan was The Greene Turtle franchise, which has seven branches in Delaware. The data shows that three different applicants – Pusan ​​LLC, Turtle Time DE1 LLC, and Turtle Time DE2 LLC – got a total of $ 892,450 through the loan program.

Candidates could not be reached for comment.

The second highest earner was Harry’s Savoy Grill in Wilmington. The restaurant has secured about $ 345,200 in loans, the data shows.

Xavier Teixido, the owner, said the loans were “a bit of an assurance that we would be able to function” when the banks turned down requests for lines of credit.

Although the loans can only be used to cover specific expenses such as rent and utilities, they have helped the restaurant cover those expenses so that it can continue to pay workers as well, he said. .

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The grant program spent $ 190 million

The primary beneficiary of the emergency hospitality loan program was the Greene Turtle franchise, which has seven branches in Delaware.

With help from the federal CARES Act stimulus, the state in August 2020 launched a new grant program – dubbed DE Relief Grants – that gave an estimated $ 191.5 million to 4,216 businesses and organizations for purpose. non-profit.

The program, which stopped accepting applications in December 2020, was created to help businesses cover expenses related to COVID-19 such as personal protective equipment, plexiglass and debt refinancing incurred in the event pandemic (including HELP loans), according to the State Department.

When the program was first launched, it offered grants ranging from $ 30,000 to $ 100,000 to small businesses and nonprofits, although many businesses reached up to $ 500,000. Once additional funds were made available through the CARES Act, bonuses were allocated to the affected industries disproportionately, according to a spokesperson for the Division of Small Business that oversaw the two money pools. The amount of the grant depended on the organization’s income in 2019.

The program was funded by the federal CARES law, which Congress passed in late March 2020, which aimed to help states and local governments cover coronavirus-related expenses, among other financial allocations.

The highest earners were generally from organizations that fund the arts in Delaware.

The main recipient of the fund was the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, a Selbyville-based 501 (c) 3 that funds arts support programs. He received $ 515,000 under the grant program.

The organization did not respond to the request for comment.

Three New Castle County-based recipients received $ 500,000: the Delaware Art Museum, the Grand Opera House, and the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.

Winterthur spokesperson Mark Nardone said the museum has spent the money heavily on laptops and other technology to allow staff to work from home. He also paid for COVID-related signage and infographics for visitors, as well as personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies, he said.

Mark Fields, executive director of the Grand, said the funds were “instrumental” in preparing the organization to safely reopen its three theaters.

“It also allowed us to rehire some, but not all, of the staff who were made redundant after the PPP funding expired in August 2020,” Fields said.

Delaware Art Museum executive director Molly Giordano said the funds were “essential” to help the museum not have to close during the pandemic. They helped the museum fully reopen its galleries in the summer of 2020 and “continue to offer a variety of outdoor and virtual programs for our community,” she wrote in an email.

“Much like the tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries, Delaware’s arts and culture organizations have been disproportionately affected by the economic fallout from the pandemic,” Giordano wrote. “Many institutions have been closed and unable to function in any capacity for a long time, resulting in massive revenue losses and disruption of the mission.”

Organizations based in New Castle County received a total of $ 107 million, more than half of the total aid allocated. They represented 59% of the beneficiaries.

The largest beneficiary in Kent County, the least populated of Delaware’s three counties, was Sewell C. Biggs Trust, which operates an art museum in Dover. He received just under $ 350,000.

The Division of Small Business could not provide the amount of grant and loan applications that were refused because those numbers were not available in their software system, according to spokesperson Jessica Welch. The division has worked to ensure that as many eligible companies as possible can be approved for funding, she said.

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Sarah Gamard covers government and politics for Delaware Online / The News Journal. Contact her at (302) 324-2281 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahGamard.