Hadley Rt. 9 fire victims can apply for loan help
HADLEY — Victims of the blaze that destroyed a dozen small businesses on Route 9 in October can begin applying for economic injury loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The long-term, low-interest loans were made available after Gov. Deval Patrick submitted a disaster declaration request last month.
“These loans will help ensure that Hadley is able to recover and rebuild stronger than before,” he said.
The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are to meet the working-capital needs of the businesses affected by the Oct. 27 blaze, which destroyed the entire Norwottuck Shoppes plaza. Eligible businesses may qualify for up to $2 million. The rates on the loans are 4 percent for small businesses and 2.625 percent for nonprofits with terms of up to 30 years. The association determines loan eligibility based on the size and type of the business and its financial resources.
Tony Maroulis, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, which has been managing local relief efforts, said affected business owners have been made aware of the loan opportunity.
“It’s certainly good stuff and most everyone involved thus far is aware of the opportunity, and their contact info has been given to the appropriate folks,” Maroulis said.
In addition to the loan program, the Amherst chamber has been working with the United Way of Hampshire County and the town of Hadley to assist fire victims with various services available to them.
The chamber continues to administer a fire relief fund which stood this week at $37,000. The fund closes Dec. 31, at which time the chamber will evenly distribute the proceeds to affected business owners, Maroulis said.
He said the chamber has already distributed a total of $8,000 to four business owners who had immediate needs for the money.