MOUNT HOLLY – A Hainesport-based lawncare business is poised to receive a critical lifeline from Burlington County.
The Burlington County Board of County Commissioners voted Wednesday to approve extending a $45,000 interest-free loan to the South Jersey Lawns LLC through the County’s Health Emergency Loan Program, also known as HELP.
The loan is expected to help the business purchase supplies and materials to continue operations.
From the very start of the pandemic, our Board has made it our mission to provide as much assistance as possible to both our residents and small businesses. HELP loans are one way we’re assisting local companies weather this storm, and we’re proud to extend businesses like South Jersey Lawns a lifeline,” said Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson.
The HELP loans are zero-interest and were created as part of the County’s response to the ongoing pandemic and the economic fallout the crisis caused.
A total of $660,000 in federal CARES Act funding was secured by the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s Economic Development Office for the loans, which are available to Burlington County businesses experiencing hardship from the pandemic.
The Bridge Commission is also responsible for administering the program.
Loans are capped at $50,000 and can be used for business-related purchases, payroll or other expenses or improvements. There are no closing costs, but sufficient collateral in personal or commercial property is necessary to secure the loan.
South Jersey Lawns is the fifth county business to receive a HELP loan since the program launched. The company has operated in Burlington County for 16 years and its owner Wayne Trojanowski has lived in the county for 39.
“In 2020, like many small businesses, I took a hit and found myself in a hole that did not seem like I would be able to get out of. I found myself contemplating the future and sustainability of my business,” Trojanowski said. “With federal funds being taken up by larger companies, the smaller businesses like mine were left with an inbox full of ‘I’m sorry but you do not qualify emails.’ I was faced with having to borrow on high interest credit cards, which may have helped me now but ultimately would have sunk me as the interest on the debt would become overwhelming.”
He learned about the HELP loans program from a friend and was walked through the application process by Liz Verna, the County’s Director of Economic Development.
“As a business owner who faced the most challenging year of my life, as a husband and father whose family’s future is riding upon my shoulders, I cannot express how grateful I am to (Verna) and all who helped bring this program to Burlington County,” Trojanowski added. “This HELP loan will secure my business for years to come. I for one am proud to be a resident and a business owner in Burlington County and hope to be for many years to come.”
Hopson said additional loan money is still available and she encouraged businesses interested in the program to visit www.bcbridges.org/covid19-resources/
“Now more than ever, it is important for all levels of government to assist small businesses as they continue to struggle to recover from the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 created,” said Hopson. “Businesses like South Jersey Lawns are not faceless companies. Their owners and employees are our neighbors and friends. By extending to them zero-interest HELP loans, we are supporting our own communities and helping to keep them vital.”