- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness: While we are still waiting on PPP loan forgiveness guidance from the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department, remember to periodically check ABA’s article on PPP loan forgiveness. The article is updated as new information becomes available and covers:
- When the eight week period begins;
- How to spend PPP funds to maximize forgiveness;
- What expenses are forgivable;
- How to apply for loan forgiveness;
- What documentation is required for loan forgiveness; and
- How Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) affect PPP loan forgiveness.
- PPP payroll expenses:
- Paying employees to stay at home: If your state is still under a stay-at-home order or your store is voluntarily closed to the public, you can use your PPP funds to pay employees to stay at home. While employees are at home, you can try to find projects such as updating your website, creating a marketing campaign, or long-term strategizing. If there are no at-home projects, you can pay your employees to stay at home and not work. It may sound strange to pay employees not to work, but the main goal of PPP (as it is currently written) is to try to get businesses through the “shut down” phase and lessen the strain on the unemployment system, while also providing some extra funds for non-payroll expenses. Provided that your employees are back on payroll during your eight-week timeframe (at the same rate and hours they were before the pandemic), it does not matter if your employees are being paid to work or not to work.
- Paying employees bonuses: We’ve heard from some members asking if they can use PPP funds to pay their employees bonuses. Some experts have warned against “going crazy with bonuses.” In other words, paying small bonuses to employees may be okay, but you should proceed with caution when considering awarding large bonuses. The government does not want to see businesses using PPP outside of the program’s intended purpose. When granting loan forgiveness, lenders will want to see that your expenses line up with what you’ve spent in the past. If you have a history of awarding bonuses each year to employees, then using PPP funds for this may be okay. Upcoming guidance may clarify the use of PPP funds on bonuses.
In addition, some stores may wish to pay more to employees who are working in the store during the crisis. However, until a rule specifically allows for a small business owner to do this with forgivable PPP funds, ABA recommends that bookstore owners assume that any extra pay above the normal should not be included in your calculation for forgiveness; err on the side of caution to ensure that the loan is forgiven until there’s more information provided on this subject.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) update: The Small Business Administration (SBA) is no longer accepting new applications for EIDL from most small businesses. The EIDL application is now only available to agricultural businesses since they were previously ineligible for EIDL. Small business applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions about your EIDL status, you can contact the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance via phone at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY/TDD: 1-800-877-8339) or email@example.com.
The Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix Virtual Book Club scheduled for Wednesdays in May is completely sold out (great news!) but the waitlist is long and we want to ensure that as many people as possible can attend. Please encourage customers who have signed up but do not plan to attend to cancel their reservation through Eventbrite, which will then automatically register the next person in line on the waitlist.
Store Status: Please update!
Please update your store status! Open? Closed? Closed with curbside service? Selling online? This information helps us update publishers, wholesalers, and shippers, and find ways to support you. If your store is closed, the alternate address you provide may be used for ABA shipments and/or publisher galleys. You can fill out the form (it takes just three minutes) and also see the results. (Note: This information will be public.)
Bookstore Images: Please send us photos!
We want to see you! Please send firstname.lastname@example.org photos of your stores. We want to see what your stores look like right now and hear a little bit about what’s going on. Content and photos may appear on an updated #SaveIndieBookstores website and/or be used on ABA social media.
Technology Meetup: Please join us!
The May 14 Technology Meetup, to be held at 1:00 p.m. ET, will look at services and tools that are helping booksellers manage the new ways of doing business that many are having to adjust to. Advance registration is required.
Fundraising: Please check out this new vendor!
Satisfactory Printing, one of ABA’s business affinity partners, is a locally owned and operated screen printing and design shop based in Athens, Georgia. They offer complimentary graphic design for T-shirts, tote bags, hats, enamel pins, and more, and a way to sell that merchandise directly to your customers.
ABA is here for you. Please reach out if there is anything we can help with. We are an incredibly creative, resilient, supportive industry. We’ll get through this, together.