Uptown Lexington creates emergency loan fund to help businesses hurt by coronavirus outbreak

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LEXINGTON, N.C. — The coronavirus pandemic is driving customers away from their favorite bars and restaurants. Soon nearly 200 stores and offices will be able to turn to a Lexington nonprofit to help offset the loss of revenue.

Rebekah McGee is the executive director of Uptown Lexington. McGee explained the nonprofit organization promotes and provides support for businesses in the Uptown district. The group is helping stores hurt by the pandemic by creating the Emergency Business Assistance Loan program.

“So we are encouraging our business owners, if you need an extra $1,000 then apply for $1,000 and apply again if you need more,” said McGee.

The loans carry zero percent interest with a $5,000 limit. Store owners can make three requests. The loans can cover expenses like rent, salaries and utilities. While there is a $5,000 limit, McGee reminded business owners to be responsible so others can benefit from the loan program.

“If you need all $5,000, apply for all $5,000,” McGee said. “But we are asking that they apply for as little as they can so we can help someone else if we need it.”

Uptown Lexington is using its $30,000 savings account to fund the Emergency Business Assistance Loan program. The group will begin taking applications April first with the goal of getting the money back to businesses as soon as possible.

David Nichols is the owner of The Brewer’s Kettle. The Uptown Lexington shop specializes in craft beers, fine wine, and cigars. But due to the coronavirus, customers are no longer allowed to stay at the shop to enjoy their purchase. Business has been hurt. Nichols supports the loan program.

“I think it’s great,” said Nichols. “It shows a lot of support for the community. I am proud to be a part of the community that helps one another, especially during times of need.”

Down the street at the Perfect Blend Coffee Shop, they are also in favor of the Emergency Business Assistance Loan program. Tyler Prevatte is the owner of the coffee shop.

“They do a lot to drive business to town and they want to help the merchants out,” said Prevatte. “They want to push shop local and help all the neighbors here in town.”

Uptown Lexington will begin taking applications for Emergency Business Assistance Loans on April 1. The program is only for stores and office in Uptown Lexington.

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