$2.6 million in loans issued to 16 businesses hit by COVID

Another 16 businesses in Chautauqua County hurt by COVID-19 will benefit from low-interest loans.

On Tuesday, the county Industrial Development Agency’s Board of Directors authorized $2.6 million in loans from its newly established Revolving Loan Fund. The money originated from the U.S. Economic Development Administration when it announced in September that the county IDA had been selected as a recipient of a $10.5 million grant through the CARES Act. The intent of the loan fund is to provide capital, in the form of low-interest loans, to both businesses and non-profit organizations as a means to respond to economic injury resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The entities approved for Round 2 funding include: The Service Manufacturing Group, Inc.; Monofrax, LLC; Dahlstrom Roll Form; the National Comedy Center; Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc.; Kosciuszko Polish Home Association, Inc.; Reg Lenna Theater; Cleaners of Chautauqua, Inc.; Falconer Power Sports, Inc. dba Harley Davidson of Jamestown; Lynn Development, Inc.; Ready About Sailing, Inc.; Rocky’s Karate; MKJM, LLC dba The Landmark; Scott’s Peek n’ Peak, LLC; Maple Springs Inn; and Lidos Crescent Inn, Inc.

Rich Dixon, CCIDA chief financial officer, briefly discussed with board members how the businesses would be using their funds. He said the Service Manufacturing Group was using their funds as working capital, as they’ve had vendors and existing customers who have been unable to pay for services, creating a cash flow crunch.

“They feel they’re on the right path to get through this difficult time,” Dixon said.

Monofrax was awarded a $125,000 working capital loan. “They’ve ramped up slowly, as COVID pretty much shut them down,” said Dixon, adding that they will be using the money to buy raw materials.

Dahlstrom Roll Form was awarded $55,000. “This is for equipment that will clean the air inside their facility. They’ll reduce the pathogens by 90%, so this is clearly going to help the employees,” said Dixon.

The National Comedy Center was awarded $125,000. “We all know they’ve just been devastated by the lack of traffic coming in there,” Dixon said.

Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc. has had issues with their cash flow, explained Dixon. “They have a huge project here and their money is just dried up and the expenses haven’t, so this will help them weather the storm as they go through that,” he said.

The Kosciuszko Polish Home Association, Inc. in Dunkirk has closed for multiple weeks. “They canceled their events and lost a lot of their fundraising. …They hope to open soon and use this money to get prepared for that,” said Dixon.

Reg Lenna Theater was awarded $125,000 and Cleaners of Chautauqua was awarded $100,000. Falconer Power Sports, Inc. dba Harley Davidson of Jamestown will use its funds for working capital.

Dixon noted that Lynn Development Inc., which owns the federal building in Jamestown, has not received rent money from the call center since March and has actually left the facility. “They will use this (loan) to pay for taxes and other utilities,” he said.

According to Dixon, Ready About Sailing in Falconer will use its money to replace rental equipment which they sold to stay afloat.

Dixon said The Landmark will use their loan to do some renovations to enhance their outside seating. “That will help them get more people in the facility,” he said.

Scott’s Peek n’ Peak LLC was also awarded funds to enhance outside dining.

Maple Springs Inn, which operates the Chautauqua Belle, was awarded $50,000, Lidos Crescent Inn was awarded $25,000 and Rocky’s Karate was issued $25,000.

In October, the CCIDA awarded 28 businesses $5.7 million as part of its first round of funding.

Mark Geise, deputy county executive for economic development and the CCIDA’s chief executive officer, said, “We are thrilled that, as of this date, we have been able to allocate more than 80% of the funding provided by the EDA in less than five months, and in the process help more than 40 businesses to not only endure, but create jobs. Our incredible team at the CCIDA has worked diligently to get this money out working in the community as quickly as possible, while ensuring that we are responsible, impartial, and address the EDA’s guidelines.”

County Executive PJ Wendel also applauded the move.

“It is impressive that the CCIDA has been able to deploy a vast majority of the funding awarded by the EDA so expeditiously, thereby helping businesses and their employees at this critical time,” he said. “It is also very encouraging to see that they have distributed the funding among many sectors, to companies and not-profits large and small, and more than 110 jobs will be created in the process. As I’ve said all along, our comeback will be greater than our setback, and this funding is proof positive that we will not only recover, but we have another economic development tool to spur investment and job creation in this County for years to come as an outcome of the pandemic.”

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCIDA, with the approval of EDA, established a $250,000 Emergency Working Capital Loan Program with most of the remaining available balance of its Al Tech Trust RLF capital. This program provided 25 $10,000 working capital loans to businesses faced with hardships at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Geise noted this program was extremely successful, with 25 loan closings realized within four weeks of the program being created; however, this nearly depleted the Al-Tech Loan Fund and excluded several other businesses from participating. This, coupled with the fact that the CCIDA granted temporary deferments on principal payments to a significant number of existing loan clients, significantly limited the agency’s ability to make new loans.

The CCIDA team, at the invitation of the EDA, responded immediately with required documentation to apply for the funding. As part of the application process, CCIDA staff created a detailed plan for responsibly and prudently deploying the funds in a way that provides flexibility for recipients as well as timeliness in deploying the funding in order to accelerate economic recovery within the county. The newly-established CCIDA RLF Program is available to a wide-range of industry sectors, including professional services, non-profits, and other sectors that have previously been excluded from receiving CCIDA loan funds through the Al-Tech Loan Fund. As currently established, the new RLF provides loans of no less than $25,000 and not to exceed $1 million, and working capital loans of up to $250,000, with an interest rate of 2.44% (the lowest allowed).

The CCIDA Board will make a decision on Round 3 funding requests on April 27 with the application deadline being March 1.

Geise stated that the application and program details are available upon request, and urges anyone interested in applying to contact the CCIDA office at 661-8900.

He also thanked the U.S. Economic Development Administration for making this program possible. “This award has been a game-changer for Chautauqua County and speaks to the EDA’s confidence in the CCIDA to quickly and effectively deploy necessary capital within our county to retain and create jobs, and to expedite economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19,” he said. “I express my sincere gratitude to the EDA and to our entire economic development team for stepping up to secure and deploy this funding on behalf of the county. We are committed to employing an allocation strategy for this funding that is systematic, inclusive, and equitable so we can have maximum impact on the business and non-profit community.”


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