27 Decatur-based businesses qualify for small-business loans

Decatur City Hall. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

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Decatur City Hall. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

The city of Decatur announced that 27 businesses are receiving loans from the Emergency Small Business Loan Program the city created in April. The loans range from $5000 to $25,000, and according to data provided by Adam Schick with The Wilbert Group, the average amount delivered to loan recipients is $20,185

This is higher than what City Manager Andrea Arnold anticipated in May when she thought the median would hover around $10,000 to $15,000.

“We had an oversight committee to determine the best fit, for the loan to the business,” said Mayor Patti Garrett. “[The city] laid out the basic parameters but beyond that we left it to the committee’s expertise.”

The primary parameters were that qualifying businesses must employ between two and 30 full-time, or full-time equivalent employees, have a city of Decatur license and were operational as of March 1, 2020.

The total money available is $550,000, with $400,000 of that coming from the city, $100,000 from the city’s Downtown Development Authority and $50,000 raised through donations to Legacy Decatur.

Forty-five companies completed applications requesting a total $808,500 in loans. The final 27 were chosen through a lottery, meaning the city winds up funding 67 percent of the total loans requested.

According to Schick of the 45 who requested loans, 29 percent were restaurants/pubs, 23 percent “retail service,” 20 percent “general retail,” 13 percent consultant and professional service, 7 percent health and beauty retail, 4 percent healthcare and 4 percent online and media.

Businesses have four years to repay the interest-free loan beginning from when they received their loan (the money is currently getting distributed). Businesses must begin repaying 12 months after termination of Governor’s Public Health State of Emergency Order that, as of right now, is July 12.