Many Arkansas businesses working through pandemic, PPP loans help weather tough times

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Many Arkansas businesses have been getting through the pandemic using PPP loans to help that effort.

Don’s Pharmacy has been bustling with business lately. 

Pharmacist Brook Rogers says the past couple months have been busier than most.

“The past couple months have been probably the most chaotic couple of months in pharmacy with the Covid vaccine, we’ve been all hands on deck, we’ve been busier than ever,” Rogers said.

He said the pharmacy was doing everything possible to stay afloat after they shut their doors to customers in their store by going to curbside and delivery of prescriptions.  It still hit them in the pocketbooks.

“When you can’t have people in your store, you can’t sell ancillary things besides prescriptions, it definitely affects the bottom line,” Rogers said.

The Paycheck Protection Program helped them weather the tough times of the pandemic and still allowed them to pay their 15 employees.

“We were fortunate in that we were not having to let anybody go, we were able to keep the lights on and everybody got to work the full shifts that they normally would have,” Rogers said.

The Root Cafe has dealt with their share of struggles during the pandemic like most other restaurants.  Co-owner Jack Sundell says they haven’t experienced anything like this in his almost 10 years in operation.

“By far the most challenging time we faced as a restaurant owner, as business owners and the pandemic has changed everything and we’ve had to constantly adapt and pivot and figure out what’s coming and then be wrong and adjust again and it’s been a real challenge,” Sundell said.

Sundell said the PPP loans they got were able to keep their restaurant afloat while also keeping their employees afloat also.

“When we send someone after four hours instead of six or seven hours, that’s a hit that they are unable to take a lot of the time so yes the payroll protection program lets us keep people working in an otherwise very difficult time to do so,” Sundell said.

Sundell said since the snowstorm in February The Root has been busier than any other time during the pandemic.  He said the PPP has allowed them to stick around to see the nicer weather.

“We are really seeing a rapid trajectory of people coming out, people are ready to sit outside, to enjoy themselves, get together with vaccinated friends, I have a few drinks,” Sundell said.

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