Morgan Co. business owners start rebuilding process

By Paige Quiggins | 

The people of West Liberty are still trying to rebuild what Mother Nature took away. A meeting was held today at the Morehead State University campus in Morgan County to help small business owners.

Officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration, banks and other consultants came to help small business owners in West Liberty determine what they need to do next. Some claimed they are not getting enough help.

“First there's there's realizing what happened and then you have okay you start the clean up and then you have these businesses that are trying to figure out, okay, what is my next move?” said Mark Murphy of the Kentucky Small Business Development Center.

Officials from banks, federal assistance programs and other service providers came together to help those who lost everything try to move forward.

Some small business owners said they do not qualify for a lot of the loans made available to them because they cannot prove a source of income after losing their livelihood. Some said they are not looking for a handout but they do not understand why there are not more federal grants available to businesses trying to rebuild.

“There is no recourse as far as getting loans from lenders because you do not qualify for those loans,” said Dorcas Burton, Owner, of The Primitive Homestead on Main Street.
“Even government subsidized loans, you still do not qualify for if you have no income.”

Burton said she applied for loans through the S.B.A. and was turned down because she is a single female with no other income generated after her business resulted in a total loss.

One renewable energy grant was talked about, but some say that is not enough. One man said he cannot understand why residents can qualify to rebuild, while businesses cannot.

“Businesses are out there trying to come back, who want to come back cannot get access to grant money that will be needed to come back,” said Eddie Granger, Owner of Red Rooster Antiques.

The S.B.A. partners with FEMA to provide low-interest loans, and they said people should apply for assistance, even if they are not sure if they will qualify.

“When I look at the number of applications issued versus the number of those returned, the numbers are very miniscule,” said Greg Dawson, U.S. Small Business Administration.

Dawson said as of April 8, they have received 93 home and small business loan applications in Morgan County but they issued 685. He said 28 of those have been approved so far, for a total of $1,912,700 worth of assistance.