CANTON — Help is available for businesses that may be struggling during the current COVID-19 crisis.

The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center and Northern Insuring Agency addressed some of the concerns during a “Call-In” on Wednesday, with 47 individuals participating.

The on-line and phone-in session covered several topics, such as what resources were available to businesses.

“There are a few things we want to update you on as it relates to your business,” chamber Executive Director Brooke Rouse said.

Jennifer McCluskey from the SUNY Canton SBDC said that, although the campus was essential employees only, they remained open to help businesses and had an active SBDC network around the state.

She said Small Business Administration loans were available. If someone was planning to apply for one of those, or applying to a bank to obtain working capital, the SBDC could help with applications.

Ms. McCluskey said business owners should check with their bank to see if they could get a line of credit or loan. The Small Business Administration offers low-interest loans for small businesses if a bank is unable to help.

“They want you to first approach your bank to see if you can try to get some funding that way,” she said.

She said individuals can apply for up to $25,000 unsecured. The interest rate for the SBA loans is 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations.

“People can start applying if they want to,” she said.

It was important to keep records to show the reduction in cash flow compared to the previous year when applying for a loan, Ms. McCluskey said.

“Make sure you are documenting how decreased your sales are now. Keep good records. Keep everything logged the best way you can,” she said.

The Small Business Development Center can also assist if a business is going to be closed at some point and is trying to figure out how to work with various capital.

“We’re going to try to do what we can to help support all businesses. I know it’s a rough time for everyone,” Ms. McCluskey said.

She said businesses that are facing financial uncertainty should talk with some of those to whom they owe money to keep their cash flow up during this difficult time.

“Don’t feel afraid to talk to anybody that you regularly pay bills to — your landlord, your bank, utilities, whoever you have money going out to,” she said.

Some might put a moratorium on the payments temporarily, or may let the business owner pay interest only on a loan for a short period of time.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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