Flood recovery a long road for small businesses

BOULDER COUNTY - Nearly a year after last September's historic floods, many businesses in Boulder County are still trying to recover.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says they have approved nearly $11 million in loans to help with relief efforts.

Lory Horton is one of the loan recipients. She is the owner of the Red Gnome Project, a small business which designs T-shirts and apparel. Horton says she was able to open her business out of her home toward the end of 2013. In August of the same year, Horton was able to launch her website and began to generate a profit. However, a few weeks later she was devastated by the historic flood.

"I was sleeping, and I woke up to inches of water in my room. I had just gotten a new shipment of inventory, and it was all down there," Horton said. "I called my landlord who came over to help pump water but it kept coming in."

When it was all said and done Horton had feet of water sitting in her basement. The equipment she used for her business and her inventory was destroyed. She thought about moving to California to be with her family until she realized there was help available.

"I applied for a small business loan with the U.S. Small Business Association," Horton said.

Matt Varilek with the USBA says the long-term loans that were approved for businesses in Boulder County were at a 4 or 6 percent interest rates.

"We were able to provide that loan and speed the process of Lory Horton's recovery, so she can get back on her feet," Varilek said.

9NEWS asked the SBA for data about disaster loans for businesses in Boulder County. The agency initially provided conflicting statistics but says of the 455 applicants, 185 were approved, 135 businesses were denied and another 133 were withdrawn with two applications still pending.

The SBA loan program won't solve all the problems created by last year's flooding, but Horton says it did help her.

"People have been so generous, friends, family, strangers. I just want to do well to be able to give back to them," Horton said.

An SBA spokesperson says the window to apply for the business loans have passed. But, those who are in need of assistance can contact their local Small Business Development Center. There is still grant money available for businesses devastated by flood water.

The Small Business Development Center is an economic development organization that helps small businesses. There are 14 centers across Colorado to include to include one in Boulder and Larimer County.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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