April 2, 2020

Embrace the day, work on your books and records to substantiate loan amounts, call your banker if you have not yet and then get outside for some sunshine.

Funding Review – At this moment in time, the best way for small businesses to obtain the quickest funding to survive for the next several weeks and be able to continue operating once we are over this crisis is to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and accompanying advance (online) AND the Paycheck Protection Program (in person at your bank). Below is an overview of both.

SBA Lender Banks – Here is the list of lenders together with their phone numbers prepared by the SBA. It would seem to us that it would be most sensible to apply for the PPP through the bank at which you have an account.

Tips From The Webinar – We watched the financing webinar hosted by Mountain Bizworks yesterday, took away a few things. First, you are not alone. There are a lot of people that need help and do not know what to do. So, even though you may feel lost and adrift, do not worry, you are not the only one that feels that way. Second, when you apply online for the EIDL, provide the SBA with your cell phone number so that you can take their call whenever they call back. You do not want to miss the SBA calling you with a question or two about your application. Third, the SBA has streamlined the online process for the EIDL, but it otherwise is no different than before. As such the SBA will want the same or similar records that it required previously. Look to our SBA links page for a description of the documents as well as the SBA forms (but use this link for the EIDL online application). Finally, considering that the PPP was just assembled (with final details still being developed today), the experts do not know the answer to all of your questions and all of the answers are not out there. Many answers will be created during the implementation of the PPP. The bottom line: focus on what you know and what you can do. You know that to obtain any sort of funding you need to apply and to apply you are going to need certain books and records. Therefore, what you can do is get your books and records together, apply online for EIDL and call your bank for an appointment to apply for the PPP.

The $10,000 Advance – Some people do not understand the details of 10k advance. Here they are: First it is associated with the EIDL; Second you request it when you are completing the application for an EIDL; Third it is to made available to you within 3 days of your application (no knowledge if that is occurring); Fourth, you are eligible for it even if you are denied the loan; Fifth, the advance is converted into a grant at the time repayment of the loan begins; and Sixth the $10k will be deducted from any loan forgiveness granted to you in accordance with the PPP.

There is a Finite Amount – We are yelling at you to call your banker to make an appointment to apply for the PPP because it is dollar limited, meaning that the $349 billion is the total amount allocated to the PPP in the CARES Act. Once that amount is spent, that is it. So call your banker.

Take Care of Yourself – It is of no use if your business survives and you do not. Accordingly, take care of your physical body and get some exercise. Below we have reposted links to two local people running movement and exercise classes. Mo is more just movement and Arnaldo is more active exercise. If you have tried them and do not like them, then find someone else. There are tons of people offering online workout, classes, etc.

Move With Mo! – Mo Goldstein is a human movement coach, massage therapist at Apeiron Center Asheville. He is also the Founder and owner of Functional Wellness, LLC. Adapting to the current environment, Mo is offering his “Move With Mo!” class for free every weekday from 10:30 to 11:00 am. Don’t think you need to be some type of musclehead, gym rat for Mo’s classes. They are meant for regular people that have lived their life and now experience the aches and pains associated therewith. Focusing on movement of specific areas of the body, you will feel much better after taking his class. Also, Mo does a simulcast on Instagram (front view) and Facebook (side view), with each platform presenting a different angle, so you can really understand the movement. So get your two devices and move to his Instagram page and his Facebook page.

Hard Exercise Works – If you are missing the gym and/or need some discipline to get your workout done, check out Hard Exercise Works in Asheville. Arnaldo, the owner, runs video classes throughout the day, 6 days a week. Cost is $25 per week, and he offers the opportunity to borrow weights as well.

Not Surprising But Still Horrifying – The number of new people claiming unemployment benefits totaled a staggering 6.648 million last week — doubling the record set a week earlier, the Labor Department reported today. As reported by NPR, analysts say that this number may not reflect reality because the unemployment offices of many States have been so overwhelmed that people have been unable to file their claims. Based upon our discussions with people here in AVL and their inability to connect with the claims office, it is safe to conclude that is the case here as well as throughout NC.

Deeper Dive Into Unemployment Numbers – The NPR article above just reports the numbers with little analysis. If you are looking for more analysis of the unemployment numbers, with breakdowns and charts of worker demographics, go here.

Local Loan Program – The One Buncombe Fund is now taking applications for loans and funding is expected to begin this week. Quick and dirty on the program is that: it should be considered a bridge loan; it is up to $10,000 with low interest and no payments for the first 6 months; available to for profit small businesses employing less than 50 (full and part-time); demonstrated loss of 25% in revenue (that should not be hard to show); and agree to provide data about the impact to your business.

Many Local Restaurants Still Offer Takeout – Don’t forget that, if you are tired of your own lousy cooking, there are a lot of local restaurants offering takeout. Here is the list of names and numbers maintained by Asheville Independent Restaurants organization.

Jobs – Rent was due yesterday and with the need for money being greater than ever, you might want to consider a job with Ingles. Does not mean you can not keep working on the survival of your business. They are looking to hire thousands to keep their distribution operating and their shelves stocked.

Lack of JobsAs reported today by the Winston-Salem Journal, “the weekly unemployment claims report from the U.S. Labor Department had 170,881 claims in North Carolina for the week that ended March 28, compared with 93,587 for week of March 21 and 3,533 for the week of March 21. The record volume of submissions to its online portal, as well as increased use of its call centers, is exceeding the state Division of Economic Security’s ability to respond in a timely fashion. Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday the division has added another server to help handle online submissions, as well as contracted for third-party call center assistance.”

Sad News For The Music WorldEllis Marsalis, jazz piano legend and patriarch of one of New Orleans’ great music families has passed.

Support Local Musicians – Bars and venues are closed, which is tough on musicians. So, iamavl has created a musician relief fund. Donations are through Paypal and you are able to designate a specific artist and they will ensure that your donation goes to that artist. Lots of great musicians in AVL.

Parents – Your children are home and you need to keep them productive and busy so you can focus on your business and they are prepared once this crisis ends. Here is a massive list of online educational resources with descriptions and links. Many of them are free, but it will take you some time to sift through the many options offered to find the best for your child.

More Music – There is a sizeable collection available for free at the Live Music Archive.

Let People Know How Your Business is Adapting – Shoot me a quick email at Andrew@asheville.works and describe your business and explain how you are adapting. Tomorrow we will start a series highlighting how others are adapting and implementing changes to their businesses to maintain their revenue. The goal is to share ideas in an effort to spur other businesses to make their own changes.

Buying a Present, Buy Local – Need to buy a present for someone, then go to #AshevilleStrong and buy a gift card from a local business.

Bad Timing – It is no secret that Zoom, the video conferencing service, has some serious security and privacy issues. As a result the company is switching its focus from new features to solving the aforementioned issues. As reported in Tech Crunch: “For the next 90 days, Zoom is enacting a feature freeze, which means that the company isn’t going to ship any new feature until it is done fixing the current feature set. Zoom will also work with third-party experts and prepare a transparency report.”

Asheville.Works is a Labor of Love – Brian and I created this site because of our concern about how Asheville and its business community would survive this crisis. While working on another project together, it became clear to us that the government response to COVID-19 was going to destroy a lot of businesses and, consequently, individuals and families would also be severely harmed. Since Asheville is home for us as well as our children, we decided to shelve our other projects and focus our attention and efforts on doing what we could to help Asheville by assisting local businesses. Asheville.Works is the result of that decision. We generate no revenue from this project, and any business we may mention is either a business/service we use, come to our attention through research or just friends of ours.

County UpdateWLOS has the Buncombe County press conference COVID-19 update live. Happening now. Now complete. Presumably, the video will be posted on the Buncombe County COVID -19 Update channel on YouTube.

Amazon and AppleAmazon has made updates to make it easier for Apple customers to directly buy or rent movies from its app.

Sweden Is The Control GroupCaution and common sense. “But our approach to fighting the pandemic starts from something more fundamental: in a liberal democracy you have to convince and not command people into action. If you lose that principle, you will lose your soul.” See also Brazil.

Update To The Paycheck Protection Program – So the banks squealed that they might not be able to get it together for the rollout of the PPP. Treasury fell for Wall Street’s bluff, doubled the interest rate from 0.5% to 1.0% on the PPP loans and, magically, the banks are now ready, willing and able to take the PPP applications and make the loans. Is there any one that is not looking to grift Main Street and the citizens of this country during this crisis? The banks just got about $3 Trillion in liquidity from the Fed a couple of weeks and have no exposure with respect to the PPP loans, so why did they need a higher interest rate? UGH!