Small businesses navigate loan process, officials warn of scammers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – Meals are much quieter at the Elbow Room in northwest Fresno. Sales are down 80-90% since the refuge was ordered.

Owner Mike Shirnian is also on the California Restaurant Association board of directors and says these are heartbreaking times.

“It’s predicted that 20-30% of these independent restaurants that we all go to will never reopen because of this particular issue, the way it’s run,” said Mike Shirinian, owner of Elbow Room.

Shirnian says navigating loans can be tricky. He got a CPA, a lawyer and went to an SBA lender for help.

President Trump signed the $ 376 billion CARES Act for American workers and small businesses.

We spoke with Dawn Golik, with the Fresno SBA.

She says businesses can go online to apply for the Economic Disaster Loan or the Paycheck Protection Program,

“A deferral period where no payment is required. For the paycheck protection program, that would be six months for the economic disaster loan program per year. What it does for businesses is is to give them access to capital now, some time to stabilize their business to recover, ”Golik said.

Many businesses are vulnerable and the crooks are already out.

“Businesses should be very suspicious of anyone who promises they can get them a loan or asks for any sort of proprietary information, banking information, social security number, tax identification number,” Golik said.

She urges people to contact them on if they are victims of scams.

As for Shirnian, he is taking proactive steps to keep his restaurant in business after 30 years in business. He says there are 90,000 independent restaurants in California and the financial impact is significant.

“The California hotel industry generates $ 7 billion in sales taxes, so politicians better get it right,” Shirinian said.

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