Local business explains how the Small Business Development Center helped keep them afloat during pandemic


WEST MONROE, LA (5-21-20)– For some small businesses in Ouachita Parish, the result of COVID-19 hit them hard as their buildings remained empty and customers became few.

“We weren’t able to let people dine in and also we don’t have a drive through, so it effected us tremendously. If I had to say it effected us maybe 50 percent of our business if not more,” said Chris Lewis, owner of Coney Island Connection.

However, Chris Lewis, owner of Coney Island Connection, says the Louisiana small business development center is one of the reasons they stayed afloat throughout the pandemic.

“We know during this time small businesses are looking for resources, are looking for how they survive during this pandemic,” said Carla Holland, State Director for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center.

The SBCD offers resources and business strategies to small businesses. During these uncertain time, the SBDC helped navigate local businesses by helping them apply and explain disaster loans, like the PPP loan or EIDL loan.

“The disaster loans are extremely important to businesses here in Monroe because it is like a bridge. The pandemic happened so quickly and so fast that businesses had to shut down,” said Holland.

For Lewis’ business, this helped pay rent and the weekly payroll for those who worked in his restaurant.

“We was able to receive funds and we utilized those funds, as you can see, to keep our doors open and keep our employees here. We are very thankful,” said Lewis.

If you are a small business in need of funding or just want to understand how you can get back to a sense of normalcy, you can go to the Louisiana Small Business Development website. They can help you navigate your business through these difficult times.

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