Washington (CNN)Georgie Lou's Retro Candy store is one of 5 million small businesses that received an emergency loan from the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program. But like many mom-and-pop shops, the money is nearly out and customers haven't returned.
The downtown Carlisle, Pennsylvania, store is now selling its gummy worms, Bazooka gum and Harry Potter chocolate frogs online -- but sales are down 75% compared to last year.
"We are down to our last remaining funds, and we have found most aid programs frustratingly slow, needlessly complicated and inadequate to actually do much good," said Stephanie Patterson Gilbert, who runs the candy shop with her family.
Now, Gilbert is waiting to see if she gets approved for a grant from the state and county. She had planned to reopen the storefront when Pennsylvania allowed retail to do so. But as coronavirus cases continued to rise, Gilbert decided it wasn't worth the health risk to her family.
"We don't have the ability to hang on for months as everything gets into place," Gilbert added.
Money wasn't meant to last this long
For some places in the country, businesses that reopened have had to shut down again since the PPP money was disbursed.
Pilate-ology used the money to pay utilities, rent and its instructors to hold online classes. But there won't be funds left over to pay them for in-person classes when they're allowed open again. The studio doesn't have space to hold classes outside and there's little revenue coming in from the virtual offerings.
"I'm not sure the structure of the loan was good for businesses like ours," said co-owner Jessica Kuiken.
"We kind of feel like a forgotten sector of the community. There's no solution," she added.
Restrictions on spending
Congress also requires businesses to spend 60% of the money on payroll and 40% on rent and utilities in order to be eligible for loan forgiveness. Business owners couldn't use it on things to help adapt to operating during a pandemic like new marketing costs, cleaning supplies or inventory to replace expired products.
The California-based business is open, but orders are slow. Hall typically gets a lot of business from grand openings, school events and weddings -- the kind of big social gatherings that aren't happening right now due to social distancing guidelines.
The amount of the loan would remain based on 2.5 times the average monthly payroll.
That means that a second PPP loan would still be relatively small for Hill, who has just two full-time employees. He said he took out a 401(k) loan to pay his contractors and would prefer some funds to help make up for some of his lost revenue.
"Clearly we're approaching a point when we're going to have to make some tough choices," he said.