The Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and the Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund jointly announced today the launch of a zero-interest emergency loan program for restaurant, retail, hospitality and personal service businesses along Gloucester’s Main Street.
The purpose of the program will be to provide a quick source of cash flow to help Gloucester Village businesses bridge the gap between the time the economic impact of COVID-19 began and when a business secures other financial resources.
“We have heard from many businesses that their first priority beyond the immediate safety needs of their staff and the community is that of keeping their employees working,” said Executive Director of the Main Street Preservation Trust, Jenny Crittenden. “We’ve had businesses literally pivot to an entirely new model of doing business within a week. It’s unprecedented.”
Dine-in restaurants, for example, are now operating with curbside pick-up and ‘to go’ for the majority of their sales. Retailers have taken to social media in the most creative ways such as virtual fashion shows with real time buying, offering front porch delivery where delivery for retail never existed before, to ‘buy now’ programs with bounce back gift cards for use later.
“Even with this creativity some are already experiencing a loss in revenue,” Crittenden said. “It’s important to step in now, be proactive and be a resource until other resources can be accessed.”
The Main Street Preservation Trust freed up $50,000 for the purpose of launching this emergency loan fund.
Loans are being offered with priority given to restaurants, retail, hospitality and personal service businesses that can exhibit a reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19.
Loans will be available at a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $5,000 at 0% interest. Loan term will be three years with payments deferred for the first six months followed by 30 monthly payments.
Applicants with a 680 or above credit score will be approved immediately. Those applicants with a credit score under 680 will be required to supply additional information which will be reviewed by the Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund’s loan officer.
“We wanted to be sure we had a simple, direct and easy approval process,” said Jim Robinson, Director for the Gloucester Revolving Loan Fund. “Some of these businesses need the money now while others may need to borrow now in anticipation of needing it within a month. We are happy we could partner with the Trust to be the conduit for these loans. It builds on our long-term existing partnership. Right now, it is about community and taking action so we have worked expeditiously over the last week to fast track this program.”
“Relying on loyal customers has always been a key factor in the success of Main Street businesses,” Crittenden said. “Now more than ever, Main Street programs will be focusing heavily on reaching out to their customers to help them through this challenging time. The community can support Main Street businesses by buying local to help keep our family, friends and neighbors in business.”