Michigan businesses affected by lack of snow this winter can apply for federal aid - TAI News
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The earnings of Michigan businesses that rely on snow suffered this winter after record high temperatures made it difficult for them to stay open.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is encouraging affected businesses to apply for federal loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration for financial support to stay afloat.

“Michiganders are used to tough winters, but this year’s record-setting warm winter has been tough in a different way, causing economic hardships for small businesses and regional economies that rely on snow,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I know how hard this winter has been on families and communities who rely on winter tourism revenue and all the associated business that comes with it.”

A climate pattern known as El Niño created the warmest winter on record in Michigan this year, with temperatures in February and March reaching 60 degrees. According to the governor’s office, only 16% of the Great Lakes froze over, compared to 53% normally, and Marquette in the Upper Peninsula has had 72.6 inches of snow, compared to its average of 127 inches.

Winter recreation is an important industry in Michigan. Things like ski hills and snowmobiling bring business to local hotels, restaurants and shops. But because of the unusually warm weather and lack of snow, popular events like the UP200 in Marquette, CopperDog 150 in the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race in Newberry were all canceled this season.

State Sen. John Damoose, a Republican from Harbor Springs, was quoted in Whitmer’s press release saying he’s spoken with owners of businesses that rely on snow who are concerned about whether they can make it to the summer.

“I encourage all of our businesses to move quickly to secure this critical support,” he said.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to businesses located in the 42 Michigan Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula counties that are covered by a drought disaster designation issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are four separate SBA drought declarations related to the USDA designations that make businesses eligible for emergency loans. In order to be approved for a loan, businesses must prove their financial loss is related to the drought.

“A drought is a drought — whether we’re talking about rain or snow,” Whitmer said. “Businesses impacted by low snow in these 42 counties can apply for support right now, and I’ll continue to push our federal government for more solutions. We’ll get through this warm winter together.”  

Loans are available up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and cover operating expenses. There’s no interest on the loan for the first year and a maximum rate of 4% for the rest of the loan period. Businesses must apply by the application deadline for their county.

To submit a loan application or find additional information, visit https://lending.sba.gov, call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, or email [email protected]. Applicants may also contact the Michigan Small Business Development Center at 1-833-522-0025 or email [email protected]

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