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New PPP Loan Rules Could Be A Lifeline For Harvard Square Mainstay

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A new opportunity to apply for a PPP loan gives the owner of The Million Year Picnic hope. WBZ-TV's Anaridis Rodriguez reports.

Video Transcript

- Well, relief could be on the way for businesses struggling across the state. The Biden administration is expanding their Payment Protection Program to help small businesses, giving them a chance to apply for funding. As WBZ's Anaridis Rodriguez shows us, for one business owner in Cambridge, it could be a lifesaver.

ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: It's just before closing time at The Million Year Picnic.

ANTHONY DAVIS: This is a great book. There's a local creator.

ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: Inside, Anthony Davis is still busy organizing.

ANTHONY DAVIS: The first of a series that he's doing.

ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: Even though the Harvard Square shop hasn't allowed customers in since March, Davis is trying to make his business work.

ANTHONY DAVIS: We pretty quickly made a decision that we would go to doing free home deliveries, doing mail order, doing safe pickups, but not allowing people to browse, just because of the size of the shop. We're still down at least 50%. The only reason we're still here is because of the patience of the Trust that owns the building. And they've been very, very patient.

ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: The Million Year Picnic opened in 1973, and it's the oldest existing comic book store in New England. Right now, Davis employs two people. Before COVID that number was four. A new opportunity to apply for a PPP loan gives the venture hope.

ANTHONY DAVIS: It would definitely, for the next three to four months, take care of our payroll needs, and hopefully allow us to meet some of our back rent.

ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: Today, President Joe Biden, announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. Starting Wednesday, for the next two weeks, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees are allowed to apply. The federal assistance is aimed at targeting small and minority-owned businesses.

JOE BIDEN: We will ensure every dollar is spent well. These changes will bring much needed, long overdue, help to small businesses who really need help staying open, maintaining jobs, and making ends meet.

ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: Tomorrow, Davis will have his application ready to submit. An approval means his mom and pop shop has a shot at staying open.

ANTHONY DAVIS: The ability to have people come back in through the doors and enjoy our wares, that would give me all the happiness in the world.

ANARIDIS RODRIGUEZ: I'm Anaridis Rodriguez, WBZ News.