PPP loans: Illinois small businesses hurting from coronavirus crisis feel overlooked by federal government

CHICAGO (WLS) -- At a Skokie pizzeria orders are coming in, but what the owner needs, like so many other small businesses, is financial help from the federal government to have hope of surviving the coronavirus crisis.

Randy Miles bought his childhood pizza place nearly 30 years ago, and still runs it as the Village Inn Pizzeria Sports Bar and Grill.

RELATED: Chicago-area small businesses left without hope of federal relief after COVID-19 loan program depleted

"We are going to have a ghost town in downtown here," he said.

When the stay-at-home order came down, Miles paid all his 49 employees, including sick time. Now he's considering bankruptcy. He said IRS debt caused him to be shut out of federal loan help in the first round of funding. He doubts the second round of funding from the Payroll Protection Program will get to him and his employees.

RELATED: PPP loans: Chicago-area small businesses turn to community banks after missing out on 1st wave of COVID-19 federal loans

He wondered if federal agencies were hedging their bets by giving loans to larger companies instead of independently owned small businesses.

"We can't ride this out for a year," he lamented.

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Similar concerns are echoed around the Chicago area from small business owners who feel overlooked by the federal government.

"We have sixteen people," said Jim Epstein, owner of Lakefront Associates. "We are the little companies that need help, not the big boys."

Epstein and his staff are general contractors around Michigan City. They have also lent their expertise after hurricanes in other parts of the country. Now they've added decontamination to their services to try to get business, but Epstein said despite having an early PPP application he isn't counting on help from the government.

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"there was nothing planned to process this amount of people, so they give it to the banks," Epstein said. "What do the banks do? They give it to their biggest customers first."

However and whenever the new funding is appropriated, some small business are still looking at other options to try to survive the pandemic.

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