Clearwater Beach pizzeria owner Sam Krupski works longer and harder than ever to keep Samgelo's Pizza afloat.
“St. Patrick’s Day was the last good day we had,” said Krupski, who credits the regulars for her restaurant's survival.
This single mom says she laid off staff and cut expenses, but still it is not enough to cover overdue bills.
“Lots of money going out and not so much coming in,” she said.
Small businesses like hers across Tampa Bay barely hung on as the pandemic wiped out most of their sales. Now help is on the way in the form of a new round of PPP loans. But this time lenders are motivated to fast track money to mom and pop operations.
Brock Blake is the CEO of Lendio, which matches small businesses to lenders. He says businesses that have less than 10 employees will be able to quickly access PPP loans to cover payroll and other critical expenses like rent or utilities.
“They are providing additional incentive for lenders to focus on the small customers for loans less than $50,000," he said.
Blake estimates the money will be made available to small businesses by mid-January or before. “60 percent of the loan needs to be used to cover payroll,” he said.
Those who drew a PPP loan as part of the first stimulus package will get the opportunity to make another draw. For Samgelo's, relief can't come soon enough in the new year. “I am just hoping to still be here,” said Krupski.