CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – It’s just before closing time The million-year picnic. Inside, owner Anthony Davis is still busy organizing.
“This is a great book. He’s a local creator, ”said Davis as he pulled out Raul’s Third children’s book:‘! Let’s go! Let’s go to the market. ‘
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The Harvard Square store has not allowed customers to enter since March. Davis is doing everything to make his business work.
“We quickly made the decision to make free deliveries at home, place orders in the mail, make safe collections. But [we’re] not allowing people to browse just because of the size of the store, ”said Davis.
The store’s children’s book collection makes good sales. But he says they are mainly being kept afloat by their regular customer base.
“It is nowhere near the deal we were doing a year or two ago. In the first three months after the fall of COVID, we fell by 70 to 75 percent. And we still fell 50%, ”said Davis. “The only reason we are here is the patience of the trust that the building has. And they have been very, very patient. For us, getting some PPP grants and loans is extremely important. ”
The Million Year Picnic was opened in 1973. It is the oldest comic book store in New England – the four oldest in the country. Davis currently employs two people. Before the pandemic, that number was four. A new opportunity to apply for a PPP loan gives hope to the venture.
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“Certainly, for the next three to four months, I would take care of our payroll needs. And, hopefully, it will allow us to pay part of our rent late, ”said Davis. “Renting is now really the biggest consideration for companies like ours. At least PPP loans, as originally established, are really geared towards businesses where payroll is the largest share of what they do. For us, rent is a larger portion than payroll. ”
On Monday, President Joe Biden announced changes to the Payment Check Protection Program (PPP).
Starting on Wednesday and in the next two weeks, only companies with fewer than 20 employees will be able to apply for a PPP loan. Federal assistance aims to reach small and minority companies. The changes will also remove restrictions that cut PPP assistance from small business owners with previous convictions for the crime of non-fraud or those who are in default on their student loans. And improve access for noncitizen owners.
“We will ensure that every dollar is well spent. These changes will bring much needed and expected help to small businesses that really need help to stay open, keep jobs and pay the bills, ”said President Biden.
Davis says he will have his form ready by Tuesday and hopes that an approval will give him time, give him and his team a chance to get vaccinated and welcome the public back to the store. It also gives them a chance to remain open.
“I’m really looking forward to people coming back to the store,” said Davis. “The possibility for people to come back through the doors and enjoy our products, that would give me all the happiness in the world.”