CHICAGO (CBS) — They prepared for months to launch a small business, and then COVID-19 derailed their plans. CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas shows us how some startups are hitting a roadblock.
Meghan O’Neill and Jamie Kendall have been friends since their days at Maine South High School. They hoped to open Sweet & Tart Shoppe, a cocktail and dessert bar, in Park Ridge on April 1, after two years of planning and remodeling.READ MORE: Assessing The Damage: Tornado That Ripped Through DuPage County Classified As EF-3
“When this happened, it certainly put a very large wrench in our plans,” Kendall said.
They’ve had to delay not just hiring their staff, but also some of the finishing touches.
Sweet & Tart will soon start delivery and pickup, but they still need a final inspection from the city, and the owners say, thanks to the pandemic, that’s been delayed too. Once that happens, they’re hoping to bring in their chef and general manager to start working.
The owners applied for several loans, but they are navigating a confusing landscape.
“Because we had not officially opened at the time of the quarantine, we haven’t qualified for most of it,” Kendall said.
To make the cut for a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan, for example, a business had to be up and running by Feb. 15.READ MORE: Driver Ticketed After Girl, 11, Is Hit By SUV In Norwood Park
They’re not giving up, and they’re hoping they can find some relief.
“We don’t necessarily need $2 million, we’d just be happy with something that can help us stay afloat during a really uncertain time,” Kendall said.
Sweet & Tart will feature wine and cocktails as well as cookies and milkshakes.
O’Neill and Kendall said the last thing they want to do is open too soon, and cause more health problems in the community.
“It is understandable why this is happening. It’s just, you know, you’ve been living a dream for two years, and we were so close to opening, and then this happened,” O’Neill said.
They plan to open up here whenever it’s safe. A dream come true, just not yet.
The Small Business Administration says some businesses that haven’t opened yet might qualify for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.MORE NEWS: 2 People Shot, Killed In Woodlawn
Kendall and O’Neill said they’ve applied for that, too, and they’re still waiting to hear if they’re getting the loan.