Small Business Administrator tours Hurricane Laura destruction

SBA Loans

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Homeowners, renters and small business owners who suffered damage from Hurricane Laura may want to apply for low interest loans from the Federal Small Business Administration.

The SBA Administrator, Jovita Carranza was in Lake Charles touring the area to see homes and businesses

She says the SBA is an ally for people here.

Hurricane Laura took its toll on many small businesses in the area. The aftermath was devastating for Accessory Zone owned by Rhonda Kleckley.

Crave Gourmet is a specialty boutique offering olive oils, balsamics, wine and cheese. At first glance, it might look as though the store is fine. but owner Catherine Parrino says many of her perishable items were lost.

“It was honestly the heat and not having generators and three to four weeks without power. all of our chocolates, our cheese our wine and some cream-based products all gone,” said Parrino.

Yet, these woman forge ahead. For Catherine the struggle is inventory and staff.

“We need to get a new inventory shipped in, which is troublesome, but also, we care about our people,” she said.

And Rhonda has been working nonstop to get a new store at Palm Plaza opened. October 1 is her target date.

Both small businesses and homeowners can get help from the Federal SBA whose administrator. Jovita Carranza, toured the damage. She says they offer loans that can speed recovery.

“A 30-year-loan, a low interest rate, as low as 1.18% at this time. So, we’re here to provide guidance, we’re here to provide technical assistance. we’re here to so they can access for disaster loans so they can rebound in their local economy,” said Carranza.

She says they are trying to make it easy for people who need help in this disaster.

“All they have to do is access disaster and there will be a whole series of information and reference material that includes even an example of an application. So, you can do this expediently. Now there’s a lot of people who don’t have access to the internet, so we have small business development centers, that’s a resource partner. we also are working with the economic development council here,” she said.

it will take a lot of hard work, but those like Kleckley and Parrino are confident good times are ahead.

“We’re Louisiana strong, lake Charles strong, I just know that everybody’d going to come back. I don’t want to get emotional but i just know it’s going to be great.”

For a link to SBA assistance click here or contact the SWLA Economic Development Alliance.

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