11 Investigates Pennsylvania’s new coronavirus small business loan program

11 Investigates Pennsylvania’s new coronavirus small business loan program

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that new funding is available to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The $60 million fund provides $100,000 loans to businesses with 100 employees or fewer, but 11 Investigates’ Aaron Martin found out some businesses may not benefit.

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“The best place to get away from everything that’s bothering you right now is riding down the road on your motorcycle. You’re 5 miles ahead of your last problem," said Pitt Cycles owner Bill O’Baker.

But those problems began catching up to Pitt Cycles when Wolf shut down all non-life-sustaining businesses statewide last week to fight the coronavirus.

To ease the pain on small businesses, he announced the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program to provide no-interest loans.

But that help may not come for Pitt Cycles.

O’Baker discovered the loan program can’t be used to pay debt, a reality in the motorcycle business.

“We have, by definition, pretty substantial floor plan costs. These bikes have been sitting here, and not only are they not able to be sold, but they’re accruing floor plan interest costs," O’Baker said.

Instead, he’s looking to the federal stimulus package, which is expected to help businesses pay employees, rent and utilities.

Whatever the help looks like, O’Baker said it can’t come soon enough.

“We are cash-poor right now. If things don’t change very quickly within the first week or so in April, Mike and I will need to make some very difficult decisions," O’Baker said.

Pitt Cycles also does motorcycle repairs, a part of the business it’s legally allowed to keep open.

Like a lot of small business owners, O’Baker is hoping help isn’t too far away.

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