We’ve been scouring the web daily to update our resource page, and now finally, Ramsey County has set up a resource page that frankly does a better job that we can in terms of raw, up to date, technical information. We would encourage any business owner here in St. Paul, MN and Ramsey County to read it and favorite it.

You can find it here.

All that being said, this information is packaged as lists, forcing you to read through everything to find what’s pertinent to you. So, what I’m hoping to achieve with this post is more a guide to help you get started on your research. Let’s begin!

 GRANTS

If you:

– Have annual gross revenues of up to $2 million

– Have been operating in Saint Paul for at least three months

– Have experienced a significant loss of revenue due to COVID-19

then you as a business can apply for the St. Paul Bridge Fund that will be available until Sunday, April 19 at 5 p.m. They are providing to those businesses who are eligible a flat $7500 grant. You can learn more about that here.

PAYROLL

Before the COVID-19 crisis began, one of the major issues facing business owners was finding and retaining high quality staff. Now, because of recent events, many of you were forced to release those high-quality staff back into the job market. You’re now hoping they will come back to you after your customers come out of their homes when this is over. As a former executive recruiter, I can tell you that your savvier competition is eying your star players and hoping to get them on their teams. This will put you back in an even tougher situation of finding quality staff, who you’ll then need to train, adding to costs at a time when every dollar counts.

Now what if I told you that you could secure your workforce, and maybe even put them back to work on improving your business without any cost to yourself for the next two months!?

With the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), you can! The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

Some of you have heard of this and have also heard how impossible it’s been to get approval if you bank with Wells Fargo, US Bank or a similar large financial institution. The solution? Reach out to a local bank that’s been approved by the SBA. They haven’t been overloaded the way the larger institutions have, and they have that personal touch to actually talk you through the process and help. My suggestion is reach out to our GABA Member, Bank Cherokee, for assistance.

Restaurants: An unfortunate note, at the time of this post, they haven’t solved for how to apply the PPP to account for tips as part of the wages your staff earns. I would suggest monitoring updates to the PPP daily, as they’re learning and correcting deficiencies in the program.

 

CASH INFUSION FOR FOOD, BEAUTY & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES

Minnesota is offering a 50% forgivable loan through the Department of Employment & Economic Development for amounts between $2500 and $35000. The other 50% of that loan? 0% interest. Who qualifies for this opportunity?

  • Restaurants, food courts, cafes, coffeehouses, and other places of public accommodation offering food or beverage for on-premises consumption, excluding institutional or in-house food cafeterias that serve residents, employees, and clients of businesses, child care facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
  • Bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, clubs, and other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
  • Hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on-premises consumption.
  • Theaters, cinemas, indoor and outdoor performance venues, and museums.
  • Gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, and spas tanning establishments, body art establishments, tattoo parlors, piercing parlors, businesses offering massage therapy or similar body work, spas, salons, nail salons, cosmetology salons, esthetician salons, advanced practice esthetician salons, eyelash salons, and barber shops. This includes, but is not limited to, all salons and shops licensed by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners and the Minnesota Board of Barber Examiners.
  • Amusement parks, arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor climbing facilities, skating rinks, trampoline parks, and other similar recreational or entertainment facilities.
  • Country clubs, golf clubs, boating or yacht clubs, sports or athletic clubs, and dining clubs.

If you are any of these, I highly encourage you to check out this page and apply.

 

TAXES

The Minnesota Department of Revenue is doing their part to try to assist business owners (you know it’s serious when the tax man is helping). Here are some of the ways you can benefit right now: 

  • You can delay paying individual state income tax on your 2019 filing until July 15, 2020 and can even request penalties be reduced for late filing.
  • While they aren’t delaying business income tax, they are opening up the opportunity to request relief from late payment or late filing if you’ve been particularly affected by recent events.
  • For some businesses, you can pay your sales tax that was originally due by March 20 instead on April 20. I know, little late, but some of you might still benefit from knowing this, and they may continue this policy for April to May.

If you want to know more about what the Department of Revenue is doing, check it out here.

 

GENERAL LOANS

In addition to the emergency loans offered for particular industries, St. Paul is offering 2% interest loans for up to $25,000. If you’re a member of GABA, you are likely the type of business that qualifies. Use this as an opportunity to work on those business development plans you haven’t been able to get around to because you’ve been to busy! Check it out here.

 

OTHER RESOURCES & QUESTIONS

If there are other questions you have that you didn’t find an answer to in this post, ask down in the comments, and in the next post I’ll address them. As always, remember, all it takes is reaching out for support. We’re a community, and a strong one at that!

 

Sincerely,

The Grand Avenue Business Association Team