Loan program helps 1,000 Minnesota businesses during pandemic

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, about 350,000 jobs have been lost in Minnesota.

But Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development officials say they’re slowly rebounding.

On Friday, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove showed up to one business to see how the a particular loan program is helping.

Caydence Records & Coffee in St. Paul is a popular neighborhood destination but, like many, they had their backs against the wall when the pandemic hit.

"We closed our business and laid off all of our staff in March," said Mat Graske, co-owner of Caydence Records & Coffee.

Slowly, they tried to make due.

"We weren’t ready to end business operations and felt we had more work to do here in our community," Graske said.

Then, thanks to a loan program developed by the state, this small business found some relief.

"It helped us bring back our staff, it helped us take care of all aspects of our business so we could continue doing what we love doing," Graske said.

Caydence Records & Coffee received about $22,000. Grove said for the 47% of Minnesotans who work for small businesses, this was much needed.

"We want to put state dollars into these businesses to help them whether a difficult time," Grove said.

Businesses like this are starting to find a way to make it thanks to state assistance. In fact, Grove said in August job growth is up 1.5%.

"We are seeing about 40,000 new jobs come back online which is a good thing, we hope that recovery speeds up of course," Grove said.

For Graske, they’ve been able to hire back their staff and keep their doors open.

"It’s helping us get back on our feet," Graske said.

During National Small Business week, the added boost came at just the right time.

"Come support small, independent businesses. No doubt they’ve been hit hard and we could use support and we are working incredibly hard to create a safe atmosphere for you to come and enjoy," Graske said.

DEED said it handed out roughly $30 million through the loan program, helping 1,000 different small businesses.