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Local businesses welcome relief in city loan program

Quincy small business owners said they’re happy to hear the city announce the establishment of a $500,000 small business emergency loan fund Friday afternoon.

Roberto Stellino, co-owner of Tiramisu, said its welcome news in trying times.

“I think the city of Quincy did a tremendous job in this hard time to provide money for business to keep the doors open,” he said.

Stellino said business has been slower since Illinois governor J.B, Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order for the state last week.

“Without the sales on the liquor, probably our sales are down 50 percent,” he said.

With family in virus-stricken Italy and a restaurant with an empty dining room, Stellino said the uncertainty is the worst part of what’s happening.

“It’s a huge stress for I’m sure the whole country that we don’t know when it’s going to end,” he said.

Mayor Kyle Moore said the loans are meant to alleviate some of the uncertainty and put Quincy’s economy on solid footing for when the pandemic passes.

He said the loans, available to qualifying Quincy-based, privately owned businesses that employ between two and 50 people, would allow borrowers to borrow up to $10,000.

Structured over 18 months, the loan wouldn’t require payments for the first six months and come at a one percent interest rate.

“That’s a great interest rate compared to what you can get in the private sector, even the public sector,” Moore said.

Local officials said the best way to insulate the local economy from the affects of the coronavirus is to protect small businesses.

“They’re the lifeblood of our community,” city treasurer Dr. Linda Moore said.

Dr. Moore said success at the small business level can have a trickle-down affect for the rest of the community.

“If they can continue to pay their workers, their workers can continue to buy food and pay rent and that money trickles down throughout our community,” Dr. Moore said.

Stellino said he knows how important that is.

“We have to take care of the people that take care of us,” he said.

Mayor Moore said the money is coming out of the city’s economic development fund which stands at just over $1.8 million.