“The true small businesses out there have been hosed,” says Bourbon Creek owner Mark Thomas. “Just left out in the cold.”
An economically crippling, global pandemic, is the last concern Mark Thomas and his wife, Camille had when they opened up Bourbon Creek inside Fayette Mall in October of last year.
In fact, business had been great. The couple had graduated from craft shows and festivals to their own brick and mortar store. “It started as a hobby for me and then it just kinda took off,” Thomas said.
When the coronavirus forced them to close their labor of love, the Thomas’ say they trusted they were in good hands.
Senate Majority Leader and fellow Kentuckian said in a news conference this week, “We’re feeling our way along here. Tried to do the best we can to get money to our people and to our small businesses to get us through this period so that we can begin to get back to normal.”
“We started to believe that people that were in Congress, the ones passing laws, they were specifically targeting us,” said Thomas. “So it made us feel like they were looking out for us.”
The Lexington couple filed for a piece of the federal paycheck protection money as soon as they could…and then waited. But a phone call from the bank never came. Only after Mark made follow up calls himself did they get word they were eligible for $1100. A fraction of what they needed, in a loan they have to pay back.
“Just this pandemic alone- just rent and utilities, no employee costs, is 10’s of thousands of dollars.”
The bank told Mark, true mom and pop shops got kicked to the back of the line and money quickly ran out.
Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended the overall distribution of the funds.
“We have over a million companies that have received this with less than 10 workers,” Mnuchin said.
Bourbon Creek was not one of them.
Thomas is frustrated. “Even now,” he says “where they’re talking about approving more money, what’s the point? The money is not getting into the hands of people who really need it.”