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Holyoke press conference highlights PPP loans

A group of area business people who received help in the very first round of stimulation funding from the Small Business Administration’s the Paycheck Protection Program fulfilled to get a press conference Saturday at the Log Cabin in Holyoke to go over the effect that the financing had on their companies.

The CARES Act pumped nearly $1.2 billion to the market of Western Massachusetts, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal said Saturday.

Neal, as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was among this prime authors of the laws which shipped 10,460 loans into Western Mass. companies. As stated by the national Small Business Administration, $1,177,312,235 at loans of less than $150,000 every were created to area small businesses.

“This unprecedented program, made possible through the passage of the CARES Act, has saved businesses, it has saved good jobs and it has saved beloved fixtures in our communities that we all value and want to sure survive the COVID-19 recession,” Neal stated.

A number of companies and nonprofits received help in the PPP, such as the Springfield Symphony and the Marian Center at Holyoke.      

Area restauranteur Andy Yee, of this Bean Restaurant Group, said that he was thankful for the financing his firm was able to get.  The Bean Group works 15 restaurants Throughout the country, including the Student Prince at downtown Springfield and the White Castle in West Springfield.  

“Immediately upon receiving these funds we were able to pay rent and utilities,” Yee said. “As time went on we were able to hire employees back incrementally and protect meaningful jobs with the PPP. The Bean Restaurant Group is extremely grateful to Congressman Neal and his team for leading the charge to ensure businesses in Western Mass. received these funds.  Thanks to the relationships we have with banks, landlords and elected officials, including Rep. Neal, we are now open for business.”

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Don Pion, the proprietor of Bob Pion Buick GMC, explained the pandemic stunned him.

“When it first hit, none of us knew what to do or how this was all going to play out,” he said.  “Our parts and service departments were considered “essential services” therefore we could maintain a few workers. However, we needed to furlough quite a couple.  The PPP enabled us to bring back a great deal of individuals, and we could maintain insurance policy for our employees whether they had been furloughed. This app was crucial.  We’d not have managed to proceed in the form we’re in if not to your PPP loan.”

Log Cabin owner Peter Rosskothen said limitations on collecting size that disallowed groups bigger than 50 individuals dealt his role business a significant blow.

“We are still floating,” he explained.  “We have a large overhead. With the PPP we have a lifeline, but we are not out of the water and the PPP is not the end of the help we will need.”

Rosskothen also possesses the Delaney House and Restaurant on Route 5 at Holyoke.  He explained the restaurant and resort are working at roughly 60 percentage of levels seen prior to the pandemic.  

Neal stated Congress is currently trying to maneuver a new stimulus package known as the HEROS Act that would address Rosskothen’s worries for ongoing aid. However, Senate Republicans are dragging their heels, Neal stated.

“I think it is irresponsible when you consider the House passed the HEROS Act 10 weeks ago.  It is going to be extremely important for people,” Neal said. “There is money in there for state and local governments, which is clearly important as we try to reopen schools in the fall. There is more money for hospitals and unemployment insurance.  You would think that the current resurgence of the coronavirus would be getting people to think about getting this assistance done as soon as possible.”

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Neal said House members are about a 24-hour recall note if negotiators in the Senate, the House and the White House come to an arrangement.

Sister Miriam Najimy explained the national loans assisted the Marian Center take good care of the men and women who take good care of their elderly Daughters of the Heart of Mary.

“We are grateful that we were able to get the CARES funding,” Najimy explained. “We were able to treat our employees with dignity and respect their struggles.  That means a great deal to us. We consider (the PPP) a wonderful gift.”

Oliver Smith


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