PPP bridges the gap for some businesses

The federal and state assistance she received to weather the COVID pandemic has been more than just money for Susan Danenberger.

 “It’s definitely been a miracle,” said the owner of Danenberger Family Vineyards in New Berlin.

Danenberger was able to secure a $20,000 forgivable loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and was also among the nine Sangamon County businesses that received a Hospitality Emergency Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

The PPP loan helped Danenberger to bring nine laid-off employees back on the payroll, and the state money allowed her to purchase bottles, corks and labels to prepare finished wine for sale.

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“It was one of those things where you’re like, ‘OK, what the heck, I’ll apply,’” Danenberger said. “It has been such a blessing; I can’t even tell you.”

Other Sangamon County businesses that were chosen through a lottery process to share in the $14 million DCEO Hospitality Grant included two taverns, four hotels, a restaurant and a catering operation (see accompanying story). Many more area business owners were able to take advantage of the $349 billion in PPP loans, which are forgivable if no less than 75% of the funds are used to retain employees during the pandemic. Cindy Davis of Resource One in Springfield is one of those business owners.

“I found out about it through a best practice group that I belong to,” said Davis of her $360,000 PPP loan. “We are going to use the money to pay for people to stay employed that would normally have been laid off.”

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