HFLA's Response to Protest Damages - Crain's Cleveland, June 7, 2020

Excerpt from Crain’s Cleveland Article. Read full article here: crainscleveland.com.


June 07, 2020 04:00 AM

Downtown Cleveland retailers express support for protesters, concerns about the city center’s ability to rebound

“HFLA of Northeast Ohio, a nonprofit lender based in Beachwood, quickly rolled out a disaster relief loan program for businesses that sustained riot damage. Companies can apply for interest-free loans of up to $10,000 to cover immediate costs while an insurance claim is pending or to pay expenses including deductibles.

Michal Marcus, executive director of the 116-year-old organization, said HFLA typically works with clients who can’t get conventional loans. Most downtown retailers don’t meet that metric. In this case, though, HFLA wanted to make sure small businesses that already are struggling had swift access to funds so vandalism doesn’t lead to more vacancy.

“Ground-floor establishments suffered the most, and they were the ones that were already suffering,” said Joe Roman, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. “That tandem of experiences, I think, is going to result in a very long rebuild for downtown. Hopefully, we can figure out a way to provide financial assistance.”

At the end of 2019, downtown’s retail vacancy rate was just over 11%, according to the CBRE Group Inc. real estate brokerage. That figure doesn’t account, though, for dozens of empty storefronts that aren’t being marketed because they’re earmarked for eventual redevelopment. This year, a few large restaurants have closed, largely due to financial woes that predated the pandemic.

Some businesses, including Zanzibar, which already had a robust takeout and delivery operation, managed to stay open during March and April. Others returned in mid-May, only to shut down again as a result of the riot and a city-imposed curfew that required a near-lockdown of downtown for the first half of last week.

‘This is definitely going to be a major, major setback,” said Dominic Fanelli, owner of the Chocolate Bar restaurant on Euclid Avenue. “I think everybody’s going 24 hours at a time.'”


Excerpt from Crain’s Cleveland Article. Read full article here: crainscleveland.com.


HFLA Small Business Emergency Loan

HFLA Small Business Emergency Loan

The HFLA Small Business Emergency Loan goes up to $5,000 and are to support small businesses during this uncertain time.

The loan can be used to cover payroll, rent, and other expenses while business is slow (or paused).

To be eligible for these loans:

  • The business should have been in business for a minimum of 12 months.
  • The business owner is required to meet with an HFLA business loan volunteer* to discuss how COVID-19 has affected their business.
  • The business owner needs to provide a recovery plan.
  • The business owner is required to check in periodically for support.

*(HFLA business loan volunteers consist of bankers and current and retired business owners.)

Loans will be made to the business; business owner(s) (who own more than 20%), and business owner(s) will guarantee the loans. These loans are not meant to replace Disaster Relief SBA loans or other funds that business owners may be eligible for, but rather to offer additional support.

As with all of our loans, we will be doing our due diligence to make sure that we are making good lending decisions. Sending in an application does not guarantee an approval. Please contact us at team@interestfree.org if you have any additional questions about eligibility or requirements or would like to apply. The loan application process will be “touch free.”

The Small Business Emergency Loan has been generously funded by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

More resources for small business and individual assistance can be found on our COVID-19 Resources post.

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