MAYVILLE, N.Y. — More than $5 million in federal loans has been awarded to businesses in Chautauqua County hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was excellent to hear that news. This gives us that opportunity to just really make sure that we're in a good position moving forward," said Ben Webb, Webbs Harbor Restaurant and Bowling Lanes president and CEO.
Webb is one of 28 recipients sharing $5.7 million in federal loan funding from the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.
The money is part of the $10.5 million CARES Act grant the U.S. Commerce Department awarded the county last month for businesses suffering from the pandemic.
"In my lifetime, I've never seen something that's gone directly to businesses on the ground, so to speak, and especially small businesses," said Webb.
Webb says funding will be used to help retain dozens of jobs, and grow the workforce in the near future.
He says heading into the offseason, not only will the money position him to help take care of the business, but his employees as well.
"Who are worried about getting food on the table for their families, paying their electric bill, paying their car payment, paying their gas payments so they could make it work was critical," said Webb.
"Full of gratitude that we can, we could do this. Was a godsend, really, to be able to help these businesses is very fulfilling," said Mark Geise, Chautauqua County IDA chief executive officer.
Geise says the group reviewed hundreds of loan applications from struggling businesses looking for a piece of the economic recovery.
Other businesses that received funding include Webb's Candies and Hotel, Big Inlet Brewing in Mayville, and Merritt Estate Winery in Forestville.
"Giving them what they needed in order to do what they needed to do to survive and make it through this tough time," said Geise.
Like the others, Webb will have to pay the money back and has seven years to do so at an interest rate of 2.4 percent.
"That'll allow us to breathe as a business. It's an opportunity to have a little extra water so to speak and then we've got to fill the bin back up when we're done," said Webb.
Other rounds of funding are expected in January and April.
Here is the complete list of first round loan recipients
Luscombe Aircraft; Merritt Estate Winery; The Original Crunch Roll; Pucci Carpet; Excelco/Newbrook; Artone; International Ordnance; Kimbert Manufacturing; Heritage Ministries; Uhl Ventures (Servpro); Ark Wholesale; SKB Auto Sales; Brigiottas; Billicki Law Firm; Advanced Production Group; Skate Shop; Corvus Bus & Charter; Webb’s Candies/Motel; Falconer Hotel; La Quinta/Holiday Inn/Hampton Inn; Big Inlet Brewing; Ivory Acres Weddings; Shawbucks; Cockaigne; Pace’s Pizzeria; and Webb’s Harbor Restaurant and Bowling Lanes.