NEW YORK – After Hurricane Sandy, profits sank for many New York neighborhood business anchors. Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza in Staten Island was one of those neighborhood fixtures that was damaged.
After the storm, Goodfella’s co-owner Scot Cosentino found his place a mess. A few feet of water turned a storage room into a lake with everything floating upside down. The Goodfella’s team decided to do what had worked after damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011: apply for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBA disaster loan fired up Goodfella’s ovens allowing the business to reopen after Sandy’s devastation. Cosentino said the key to any small business is cash flow. The sooner a business is restored, the sooner a neighborhood is restored. Once Goodfella’s reopened, it became a distribution point to help its Staten Island neighbors.
“The pulse of any New York neighborhood is in its diners, pizza joints, bodegas, cleaners and a myriad of other mom-and-pop businesses,” said Michael F. Byrne, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer in New York. “The SBA’s low-interest disaster loans are a key to returning a neighborhood’s heartbeat.”
Businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations may apply for a Physical Disaster Loan of up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory and fixtures. The loan may be increased by as much as 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to protect the property against future disasters of the same type. These loans cover uninsured or under-insured losses.
Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes suffering substantial economic injury may also be eligible for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan of up to $2 million to meet normal operating expenses.
The interest rate on both these loans may be as low as 4 percent for businesses and as low as 3 percent for private nonprofits with repayment terms up to 30 years for both.
The deadline to apply for an SBA disaster loan for physical damage is March 29, 2013 and the deadline to apply for Economic Injury loans is July 31, 2013.
A simple and fast way to complete the application is online, using the SBA's electronic loan application. Go to https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA. Applicants can receive an update on the status of an application by calling 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
Individuals can register with FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 800-621-3362 (Voice, 7-1-1/Relay) or TTY 800-462-7585. The phone lines operate 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, seven days a week.
To see a video of SBA’s help for Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza in Staten Island, go to: http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/11254