First beneficiaries of Delaware County small-business loan program named

JIM FISCHER
editorial@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Delaware County's revolving-loan fund has awarded its first four loans to small businesses in Powell, Lewis Center and Delaware.

The fund's board has been accepting applications for low-interest loans through the new initiative of the county's Economic Recovery Advisory Team for about a month.

Created by Delaware County commissioners, the program is intended to lend a hand to the county's small businesses suffering in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Spearheaded by Delaware County Finance Authority member Don Rankey, the program secured more than $3.25 million in funding from local governments, including commissioners, Liberty and Orange townships and other governmental and public-private partnership agencies.

"We approved four applicants for almost $100,000 in support of the Delaware County business community," said county economic development director Bob Lamb, who leads the Economic Recovery Advisory Team.

The program is administered by Buckeye State Bank, which completes an initial loan-approval process before sending recommendations to the revolving loan fund board for final approval.

Rankey said there were more applicants in the first round, but the four recipients were those approved by the bank.

The recipients are: MemberRide Enterprises in Lewis Center; Woodland Cigar Co. in Delaware; and Premier Commercial Group and Kennell Enterprises in Powell.

"It was a simple process," said Kris Neff, owner of MemberRide, which does business as Ride Columbus.

Neff said his company, which provides high-end speciality transportation for clients attending concerts, sporting events, celebrations and other occasions, has been hit hard by the pandemic. He said he estimates he will see only about 30% of his anticipated business for 2020.

"This (loan) is huge for me, and will basically keep me from shutting down. I'll be able to keep up my insurance, which is a big cost, and other bills," Neff said, adding that none of the funds will be used to "give me a paycheck."

"This is to pay bills to keep my business afloat," he said.

Rankey said although businesses within in participating jurisdictions benefit in the application scoring system, only one of the first four businesses approved is within a partner jurisdiction.

Lamb said a round of applications is pending, and that the fund continues to accept applications.

Loans can be in the $10,000 to $25,000 range and can equal up to six months of rent, mortgage and/or utility payments. The interest rate is 4%, with a $1,000 fee that will be added to the loan principal. Interest-only payments will be required during the first six months of repayment.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews