Small businesses may resort to loans amid hurricane damage

Read Article- Small businesses may resort to loans amid hurricane damage.

Small businesses may resort to loans amid hurricane damage
Small businesses may resort to loans amid hurricane damage
Small businesses may resort to loans amid hurricane damage

While FEMA assistance is open to many Central Florida families impacted by flooding after Hurricane Ian, some small business owners might be struggling since they don't qualify. Many are wondering if a loan is right for them.

Treading water has become the daily routine for Alfredo, as the water crested right below his doorstep at the Sanford Pizza Company.

“There’s not much I can do. Like I’ve been here for the last 3 or 4 days, just to check how the water levels are,” said Alfredo Colimodio, owner of the Sanford Pizza Company. “It seems like it’s receding, but it’s very, very slow.”

The water was just inches shy of making it into his building. Any resulting exterior damage is a mystery for now, as the front and back of the property remain underwater.

“As of right now, there’s no way for me to tell what kind of damage I have around the building with the water still being here. We can’t see what’s underneath,” said Colimodio.

As a business owner, Alfredo is not eligible for FEMA assistance. He’s one of the many who might apply for a loan from the Small Business Administration.

“I think I’m going to have to, yes. Because this is my third week closed, and the loss of income for the last 3 weeks. I’m taking a toll not having any money coming in,” he said.

The SBA has opened a business recovery center in the heart of downtown Sanford, located at 230 E. First Street. At the location, homeowners and businesses can apply for a loan.

“They don’t have to bring any documents with them. The SBA prefers that they just come as they are,” said Monica Myles, an SBA Public Affairs Specialist.

But the keyword here: is 'loan.' The money will need to be paid back. According to The SBA, businesses can apply for one with a roughly 3 percent APR. Those businesses can receive up to $2 million, depending on their need.

And SBA reps say it’s okay to just consider your options.

“They’re not required to take the loan. At the end, if they decide they don’t want to take it, they don’t have to take it,” said Myles.

Meanwhile, Alfredo says he’s got some time before he can assess the damage.

“That’s it— that’s all I can do right now. Is just wait,” he said.

Despite having other issues to deal with, Colimodio is headed to Fort Myers on Wednesday.

He’s gotten some food donations from vendors and will be going out and cooking pizza for the people there who need a hot meal.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced it will open a Business Recovery Center in Hillsborough County on Monday, the first of many the agency expects to open in counties impacted by Hurricane Ian.

The center will provide help with applying for low-interest loans for businesses and individuals affected by the hurricane. It will be housed at the Chloe Coney Urban Enterprise Center, 1907 E Hillsborough Ave., in Tampa.

Residents in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Seminole counties are eligible to apply for physical damage as well as economic damage. Small businesses and nonprofits in Brevard, Broward, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Pasco, Sumter and Volusia counties are eligible to apply only for economic injury disaster loans.

Homeowners can apply for up to $200,000 in loans for physical property damage and nonprofits and businesses of all sizes for up to $2 million. Personal property damage loans, including for vehicles, are available up to $40,000 for homeowners and renters.

Mitigation loans to prevent future damage, such as money to create storm shelters or install retaining walls, are available for up to 20% of physical damages. Small businesses are eligible for economic injury losses even if they did not suffer physical damage but a loss of business. Loans can also be used to relocate.

Only losses not covered by insurance or otherwise compensated are eligible. Secondary homes, personal pleasure boats, airplanes and recreational vehicles not used for business are ineligible, according to a news release.

The deadline for physical damage loans is Nov. 28 and the deadline for economic injury loans is June 29, 2023. But Sharon Gadbois, a Small Business Administration spokesperson, said in an interview that people are encouraged to apply early. Once approved, there is no obligation to take the loan and applicants have 60 days to decide.

Interest rates start at 2.188% for individuals, 1.875% for nonprofits and 3.04% for businesses.

The center will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Gadbois advises arriving early and to bring a state ID and cellphone if available. Applicants should also be prepared to provide tax returns later in the process.

Applicants should register online at, download the Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile app or call that agency’s toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362.

A news release said applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application at, and should apply under Small Business Administration declaration # 17644.

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling 800-659-2955 (dial 711 to access telecommunications relay services) or by sending an email to

Loan applications can be downloaded at and completed applications should be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76155.