‘Not a penny’: Small businesses getting more frustrated by the day

A $349 billion federal assistance program ran out of money before many South Florida small business owners got a single penny.

WILTON MANORS, Fla. – Shutting down has been hard enough for small business owners, but with each day that passes it gets financially worse. The frustration grows as federal aid still isn’t showing up.

“It doesn’t matter what sort of a small business you are, if you were shut down by this, you are getting no help,” says Rick Schmutzler, owner of Gym Sportsbar in Wilton Manors.

Since the $349 billion federal program meant to keep businesses afloat during this economic meltdown ran out of money Thursday, it is business owners who are now doing everything they can to keep their companies alive.

Schmutzler, who owns three bars, says he’s beyond frustrated — not from having to put up his barstools, shutter his windows, or close his doors, but from not receiving any federal assistance since he was forced to shut down last month.

“We have applied for every type of grant or load that we can,” he says.

On March 17, Schmutzler says he closed for the safety of the residents in the community during the coronavirus pandemic. A day later he went onto the Small Business Administration website to apply for the economic injury disaster loan.

“We submitted for the $10,000 emergency grant that was part that,” he says. Schmutzler also applied for the personal paycheck protection program for help paying his employees now out of work.

“Not a penny,” he says when asked what he’s received.

Sheri Fiske Schultz, managing partner of the Fiske & Company accounting firm in South Florida, says small business owners should continue to submit their loans.

“Continue to submit the [Paycheck Protection Program] loan. We will process them, will underwrite them, however we need to wait for the approval process to get the money from the SBA,” she said.

But while Congress and the Trump administration are discussing adding hundreds of billions of dollars to replenish the Small Business Association program, business owners are scrambling to find other options — like starting GoFundMe pages, using lines of credit or, in some cases, having to furlough their employees.

“Come hell or high water, I will get my business reopened,” Schmutzler said. “I am committed to that.”

ALSO SEE: Here is a list of coronavirus aid for small business owners in South Florida

About the Author:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.