KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A small Kansas City business that saw operations shut down at the beginning of the pandemic in April says it's still standing today because the owners took advantage of all the help they could get.
Upcyle Piano Craft in Midtown looks much different now than it did in the spring.
"Were we wearing masks yet?" owner Stephen Wilson said. "I don't think so."
The then-emerging pandemic stopped Wilson and his partner, Anne Trinkl, in their tracks right as they were about to open the store.
"Anytime there's trouble, there's music," Wilson said.
People's renewed passion for playing piano is partly why Wilson believes they made it through the last year. Another big help came from federal relief money and small business loans.
"We couldn't be today where we are if that wasn't there, because we would not have had the help of our employees," Wilson said. "We would be set back two months from where we are now."
Now, a second wave of help for small businesses is coming, which is welcome news for Wilson and Trinkl.
The most popular is the Paycheck Protection Program, which this stimulus package expands.
Even businesses that got a PPP loan in the first round can still apply for the second.
"If you either used up or intend to use up all your first round of PPP funding, you have fewer than 300 employees, and you can show reduction in gross receipts of at least 25% over the prior year quarter," said Andy Phillips, a director for The Tax Institute at H&R Block, about the requirements for the loan.
Phillips said what's great is that these new PPP loans are forgivable when used for certain expenses, and borrowers won't be taxed for it on their federal tax return.
"You get an equivalent of kind of a double dip. You don't have to pay taxes on this forgiven loan, and you also get to deduct the expenses associated with the loan proceeds, so that can be a really big win," Phillips said.
Small businesses should not hesitate to ask an expert about what they're eligible for, as the new relief expires on March 31.
"We survived because we took initiative to apply for everything that's available for us, so we'll definitely be doing that," Wilson said.