OGDEN — A half-dozen local companies have now contributed to Ogden’s emergency loan program, as the city tries to help keep vulnerable small businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In early April, the Ogden City Council approved the new emergency loan program, which could provide up to $1 million for Ogden businesses struggling to stay alive during the novel coronavirus situation.
The council’s approval of the program allows the city to accept donated funds to help businesses through the new program, which was adapted from the city’s small business loan and microenterprise loan initiatives. Since Ogden-based R&O Construction made an initial donation of $100,000 to the emergency program, five other Northern Utah companies have contributed, bringing total donations to $310,000.
“I wanted to make a donation to the restaurants and small businesses in the Ogden area being impacted while we in the construction industry are still working and fortunate enough to be considered an ‘essential business,’” said Slade Opheikens, president and CEO of R&O. “I am sure our turn to get hit by this new norm is around the corner, but for now, we can help.”
Since R&O’s initial contribution, Wadman Corp., Marketstar, Utah Certified Development Co., Ogden Industrial Development Corp. and Goldenwest Credit Union have all donated to the city’s loan program. To date, 23 Ogden companies have either received or are in the process of receiving funds, and seven additional companies have been approved to receive funds.
“We’ve been focused on helping not only the smaller, family-owned businesses but also some of the larger local businesses recognized as keystones of the community that employ people in the Ogden area,” said Jason Davis, manager of Ogden City’s Business Information Center.
Tom Christopulos, director of the Ogden Community and Economic Development Department, said the 0% interest loans come with a deferred payment option of up to 12 months and are being given on a first-come, first-served basis to businesses that are most susceptible to closure during the pandemic. The loans, which can be up to $10,000, are meant to pay for rent, payroll and operating expenses.
The loans are meant to augment money being lended by the state through the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, as well as by the federal government through the Small Business Administration.
Kerry Wahlen, president and CEO of Goldenwest, said the credit union has been heavily involved in the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration and has seen firsthand the predicament many small Utah businesses are currently in.
“Anything we can do right now to help stimulate the economy, we’re trying to do it,” he said.
Wahlen said Goldenwest has processed more than 1,050 loans, totaling more than $100 million as part of the PPP.
Created by the CARES Act, the initial $349 billion PPP fund had been exhausted by mid-April. Another round of funding began on April 27. According to the SBA website, the loans are designed to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll. The 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. As of May 10, there was $120 billion left to be distributed in the program.
Those interested in donating to the Ogden loan program should contact Ogden’s Community and Economic Development Department at 801-629-8910. Small businesses interested in applying for the loans should go to Ogden’s Business Information Center website or call 801-629-8613.