RICHMOND, Ky. (ABC 36) – “When you’re forced to close your doors through you know executive order, you don’t know what the future holds and some really tough decisions had to be made” said Owner of The Boutique at Merle Norman, Jill Williams.
Like many small businesses, The Boutique at Merle Norman in Richmond fell on hard times when the pandemic first hit.
Some of those tough decisions included letting go of its five employees.
“You have to look at very loyal very great staff members who have been with you for a long time and you appreciate and you have to look at them and say because of conditions outside of anything that you’ve done or I’ve done…I’m going to have to lay you off” said Williams.
To keep the business going, Williams applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program last spring. The program was designed to help small business owners stay afloat during shutdowns and restrictions.
The boutique got more than $22,000 in the first round of forgivable loans. It literally was a lifeline.
“Being able to have that phone call saying hey we’ve been approved for this paycheck protection program can you come back to work tomorrow? is a pretty great feeling” added Williams.
With the employees, curbside and delivery services, the business kept its customers.
Phase 2 of the program was approved in December and opened this week. Williams won’t apply again but she says others should.
“We’re extremely grateful that that’s something we were able to benefit from and that other local businesses in our community were as well.”
There are some changes to phase 2 of the program. You can find more information here.