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Video: Resources and help still available for struggling small businesses

Dec 03, 2020 04:30AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Alejandra Palacios of WDIO-TV - December 2, 2020 

Small businesses have been hit hard throughout this pandemic and more and more are unfortunately having to close, like the Duluth Candy Co. who announced Tuesday they are closing due to the impact of the health pandemic. State and local agencies want businesses to know there is still help out there.

Small businesses play a crucial part in our economy. According to the Small Business Administration, there are 520,000 small businesses across the state and they employ almost 50 percent of the workforce. That's why keeping them in business and helping them in a time of need like now, is important.

Pat Garofalo, the owner of Duluth Candy Co. said the pandemic has made it near impossible to sustain the business and said it was not an easy decision to make especially after being in business the past 10 years.

"They had to close their retail location so essentially they were having to go from having three different revenue streams to down to two and maybe even just one They were really reliant on just online sales and the sales for their wholesale accounts. A lot of their wholesale accounts unfortunately have also been impacted by the pandemic," said Meagan Kochendorfer, the marketing director for Duluth Candy Co.

The candy store will continue to sell products online and to their existing wholesale accounts through Dec. 31.

Many businesses have tried adapting to COVID-19 and are relying on online sales and holiday shopping to stay in business.

"We want to support our small businesses. You are the risk takers, you're the job creators and innovators, and you help push our country forward so we encourage everyone to take action and support their local small businesses," said Brian McDonald, the district director of the Minnesota U.S. Small Business Administration.

Agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Duluth Workforce Development are reminding businesses there is still help out there that they should take advantage of.

"Our Economic Injury Disaster loans which are still through the end of the year, also the Paycheck Protection Plan PPP loans,  recovery from civil unrest," said McDonald.

"We've been working with a number of businesses to invest in incumbent worker training, which means training their existing employees helping to build their skills or add a new skill," said Elena Foshay, the director for the City of Duluth Workforce Development.

McDonald said the SBA has local partners in Duluth like the Entrepreneur Fund and Northland Foundation have resources for businesses on COVID-19 relief funds, training, and more.

"Traditional SBA backed loans are also still available such as the 7(a) the 504 program, or the micro loans and through the end of the year, SBA Express lenders can lend up to $1 million on the SBA Express loan, typically that's only up to $350,000" said McDonald.

McDonald said there are other local, state and county programs to check such as the Main Street Lending Program. McDonald said it now reduced to loans starting at $100,000 for small businesses but is only through the end of the year.

The Duluth Workforce can be reached at 218-302-8400. You can also visit

The SBA has additional information on loans here. They partner with the Northland Small Business Development Center.  

To see the original report and see related articles, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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