Utah small business owners starting to see emergency relief money

Utah small business owners starting to see emergency relief money (Photo: Cristina Flores / KUTV)

Romina Rasmussen, owner of Les Madeleines, a Salt Lake cafe known for it's pastries, breakfast and lunch, is one of 52 small business owners in the city who qualified for and received emergency relief dollars to keep her business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"For me, if I only got the city loan, I think I would be OK," she said conveying a tinge of uncertainty.

The city loans, which are zero interest, don't require payment until 90 days after the mayor's emergency declaration expires. The loans totaled $992,000. Applicants qualified for a maximum of $20,000 each.

For Rasmussen, who applied for less than $20,000, the city loan will help her pay vendors and ensure she can pay employees — that's her biggest concern.

"I want to do right by my team," she said.

Rasmussen also applied for some federal loans, but those haven't been approved or funded yet. They seem to be taking longer.

The U.S. Small Business Administration said in a press release it has approved over one million emergency relief loans totaling $247.5 billion to businesses across the country.

In Utah, the SBA said it's a approved nearly 13, 000 loans totaling $2.6 billion

"We know some Utah businesses have already received funds and I encourage you to apply as quickly as possible," said Marla Trollan, Utah District Director.

To apply for funds through the PPP program, you can go to:

Rasmussen said doing take-out business only, with a limited menu and hours is difficult.

She's not serving nearly the normal number of customers.

She's taking it one week at a time, hoping she can do enough business to stay open through the worst of the pandemic.

"I'm hoping to ride it out. We've been here for 16 years, I want to make it to 17, 18 or 19," she said.