Alamance County launches new loan program

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BURLINGTON, N.C. — A new loan program in Alamance County will lend up to $25,000 to struggling small business owners. The new initiative is a collaboration between the Chamber of Commerce, Alamance County, the Economic Development Foundation, the Community Foundation and Self-Help Credit Union.

“All businesses are suffering to some degree,” said Mac Williams, Chamber of Commerce president.

The new initiative offers a fixed, low-interest rate, no application fee and free financial counseling.

“We always felt with our limited resources that we would be better off to have something as a loan program,” Williams said.

Williams told FOX8 it took six months to create a program that could be a permanent initiative to help business owners in the future.

“To help them not just get through the pandemic and recover but have something that they can use to make their business go forward afterward,” Williams said.

The loans range from $2,500 to $25,000. The county set aside $300,000 for the initiative to help people in every community.

“To communities of color, to geographies of color, and areas and owners who haven’t been traditionally successful with traditional lending sources,” Williams said.

Joshua Garrett owns Main Street Vinyl. His business was closed for two months during Phase 1 of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order.

He spent that time at home helping his kids with remote learning.

“Having irregular hours has sort of hurt us somewhat because people don’t know exactly when I’m going to be here,” Garrett said.

Fortunately he has an online store, which helped his business survive during the pandemic.

“While people have been stuck at home, they wanted something to do, something to listen to so that’s helped a lot,” Garrett said.

Garrett applied for and received PPP and SBA loans. He’s considering taking advantage of the county’s new loan program.

“We haven’t explored that yet but it’s definitely on the radar for sure,” Garrett said.

Business owners can fill out an application on Self-Help Credit Union’s website. Nonprofits are also eligible to apply.

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