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Business Journal: Business recovery center opens in Conway

Posted: May 16, 2014 - 3:45pm

The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Arkansas Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and the Conway Chamber of Commerce recently announced the opening of a Business Recovery Center (BRC) in Conway. The center is specifically designed to provide key financial services to businesses impacted by the April 27 tornado.

“Due to the severe property damage and economic loss this tornado inflicted on businesses in Mayflower and Vilonia and surrounding communities, we want to provide every available service to help get businesses back on their feet,” said SBA’s Arkansas District Director Linda Nelson. “This center is a single one-stop location for business owners to access a variety of specialized help,” she added.

The Business Recovery Center is located on the third floor of the Faulkner County Justice Building at 510 South German Lane. The BRC will be open Monday thru Friday 9am-5pm until further notice.

According to Nelson, SBA customer service representatives are available to meet individually with business owners to explain how a low-interest SBA disaster loan can help finance their recovery. “They will answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process, help each individual complete their application and close their approved loans,” she said. “You don’t need to wait on your insurance to settle or a contractor’s estimate before seeking SBA financial assistance,” Nelson added.

Brad Lacy, President of the Conway Chamber of Commerce said, “Early last week, we reached out to our colleagues at the Joplin Chamber of Commerce for advice on what role we could best play in the recovery effort. Their experience with an SBA Business Recovery Center proved invaluable as they began rebuilding their community. We immediately reached out to the SBA and are very pleased that the SBA has responded so swiftly to help meet the needs of our business community, and in particular small businesses, by working with our chamber and the SBTDC to set up this Business Recovery Center. In addition, our staff will be available to help businesses find additional resources that may be available to help in their recovery.”

According to SBTDC Director Janet Roderick, consultants will offer free consulting to help business owners affected by the tornado re-establish their operations and plan for their future. “Our counselors will also offer help in reconstructing lost business records and offer assistance on updating or rewriting business plans,” she continued.

“The combination of financial assistance from the SBA and free, personalized counseling from the professionals at the SBTDC can be a powerful step in getting our business community back to normal,” added Roderick.

Businesses of any size and private, non-profit organizations may apply to SBA for low-interest disaster loans of up to $2 million to repair or replace damage to real estate, leasehold improvements, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. These loans cover uninsured losses or situations where the insurance coverage falls short of repair or replacement costs.

For small businesses and most private, non-profit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.

The SBA also makes low-interest federal disaster loans to homeowners and renters who sustained damage from the disaster.

Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is June 30, 2014. The deadline to return economic injury applications is January 29, 2015.

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