Wake County gets ready to launch relief fund program for small business owners

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Friday, May 15, 2020
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Wake County is getting ready to launch its own program to help struggling small business owners.

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- You can find some of the most decadent and delicious desserts at Annelore's German Bakery in Cary. There are buttery cakes and classic sugar cookies. Bavarian chocolate treats and artisan bread. Some of the recipes for the German pastries date back to the 1800's, and owner Nobert Gstattenbauer hopes to continue serving them for the next several years.

He's been searching for relief funds.

"Any help would be good help," Gstattenbauer said.

He's tried for a Paycheck Protective Program loan and also put his name in for the North Carolina Rapid Recovery Assistance Program.

Nothing has come his way, but he is hoping to get help through a new avenue.

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Wake County is getting ready to launch its own program to help struggling small business owners.

"It would be very helpful," said Gstattenbauer.

Wake County has been given $5 million through the CARES Act to help small business owners.

One million is going to sole proprietors, such as barbers and hair stylists. Four million is heading to traditional small businesses to save the stores.

ABC11 is waiting to learn the specifics of the program and if loans can be forgiven.

Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria believes the money can be used at the county's discretion.

"We took decades in our community to build the culture and the vibrant economy that we have now, and it could be wiped out in a matter of weeks," Calabria said. "We have an absolute obligation to respond to that and minimize the damage as much as we can."

Calabria said the county needs to find a partner to administer the loans.

"We are looking at the particulars right now," said Calabria.

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Gstattenbauer has kept 15 people on the payroll during the pandemic.

The work at his bakery is labor intensive--nearly everything is done by hand and it requires a certain skill set.

Gstattenbauer has shortened shifts to keep everyone and would like to give them back their old hours.

"It is absolutely necessary to put money into the pockets of our employees," he said.

He said getting approved for relief funds is not just about receiving a bag of money. It sends a much larger message.

"It instills hope. It instills a positive outlook to the future," said Gstattenbauer.

Commissioners will hold a virtual public hearing Monday and are expected to vote Tuesday.

You can access the hearing at https://wake.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx under the video tab. The actual link won't be live until Commissioners start the broadcast.