DECATUR, GA — Decatur’s Emergency Small Business Loan Program announced Friday that $550,000 was successfully distributed to 27 Decatur-based small businesses. Qualified small businesses were eligible for loans of up to $25,000.
In response to the economic hardship suffered by small businesses throughout the community, the City of Decatur, the Decatur Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Legacy Decatur created the joint loan program.
Program officials said the demand was high for the business loans and 45 companies completed the application for consideration. It was designated for companies with two to 30 full-time employees.
Because the number of requests surpassed the funds available, loan officials said, an anonymous lottery system administered by an accounting firm was utilized to determine the recipients of the zero-interest loans.
“Given what small businesses mean to our community, we take pride in this program and the ability to provide them with direct relief,” said Chris Sciarrone, Decatur DDA Chair in a statement. “We will continue to support our small businesses and assist in any way we can as we collectively recover from the pandemic.”
The average amount delivered to loan recipients was nearly $20,000. While $400,000 came from the City of Decatur and $100,000 from the DDA, the final $50,000 was contributed by the community in the form of tax-deductible donations through Legacy Decatur.
"During this time of global pandemic and hardship, our community rallied together to donate $50,000 to the emergency loan program through Legacy Decatur, while also continuing to support small businesses by shopping and dining in new and creative ways," said Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett. "Our community showed how much we care about the small businesses that call Decatur home."
When broken down by business category, restaurants and pubs made up the largest percentage of applicants at 29%, followed by retail services at 23% and general retail stores at 20%.
The DDA continues to operate an interactive webpage detailing which local businesses remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic and their updated operating hours, which can be accessed through http://bit.ly/DecaturOpenForBusiness.