Ind. Gov. Thanks Federal SBA for Disaster Loans

August 5, 2004

A Southern Indiana manufacturer whose facility was shut down as a result of floods and severe weather that hit the state in May is receiving $8.9 million in federal loans to help get its operation running again and put 250 Hoosiers back to work.

Gov. Joe Kernan stopped recently in Salem to acknowledge the federal Small Business Administration’s disaster relief for Child Craft Industries Inc. He pointed out that Hoosier communities across the state are still working to recover from the devastating late spring storms.

“It’s been a few months since these storms tore through Indiana, but the people here in Salem are still working to put their lives and their community back together,” Kernan said. “For these 250 workers, life has been filled with uncertainty. With this federal assistance, though, they can be assured that their jobs will be waiting for them once Child Craft gets up and running again.”

Headquartered in Salem, Child Craft is a manufacturer of children’s and youth furniture. Child Craft President Bill Suvak said that while the storms had a devastating effect on the company and its workers, the support since May from the local, state and national levels has been important to his whole team and to the Salem community.

“We appreciate everyone’s efforts to expedite the approval of this funding to help get us back on our feet and operating. It was essentially our only option for recovery and for saving jobs in the community,” Suvak said. “Our next step is to put the plans in place to move forward, regain customer confidence and build business back up to where it was pre-flood.”

Some of Child Craft’s 250 employees have received temporary unemployment benefits through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. The temporary relief, made possible with the approval of the U.S. Department of Labor, was available for workers, farmers and some self-employed Hoosiers whose jobs were affected by the storms.

In all, Child Craft is receiving two SBA loans – an $8,058,600 Physical Disaster Loan, to be used for repairing damages or relocation, and a $915,500 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, to be used to pay ongoing monthly expenses, including payroll, until operations return to normal.

“Being able to retain Child Craft and the jobs that it offers is great news for our community. The factory is one of Salem’s largest employers and it is an important part of our town,” Mayor Judy Chastain said. “We’re very glad for the quick response after the storms and the SBA and state’s help in meeting our community’s needs.”

The SBA loans come at a low interest and can be paid back over a period of as many as 30 years. These two types of SBA loans are available to businesses located in the primary counties covered under the federal disaster declaration. Businesses located in contiguous counties are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

“Throughout the state, we’ve seen Hoosiers rally together to help their friends and neighbors get through these disasters,” Kernan said. “From volunteers who’ve helped with cleanup immediately after the storms to our efforts at the state and national level – in particular those of Congressman Baron Hill – to give communities the tools they need to meet these challenges head on, it’s been a team effort and it’s one that will continue.”

In all, 69 Indiana counties were covered under a federal disaster declaration following severe weather that hit the state over the period of several days in late May.

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