July 21, 2024

18 East Palestine businesses to receive tens of thousands in forgivable loans

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Nearly two dozen businesses in East Palestine will receive a boost from the state to help pay the bills in the form of forgivable loans.

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It’s been nearly 11 months since a toxic train derailment upended the village.

Today, Governor Mike DeWine’s office announced the emergency financial support.

Jacque Leaf co-owns Enchanted Salon on East Main Street in East Palestine.

They opened their doors in June 2022 with a vision for a special need.

“We had plans to do hair replacement for cancer patients but that sort of went by the wayside,” Leaf said.

The salon wasn’t even a year old when a Norfolk Southern train derailed in February, sending toxic chemicals into the village.

“We figured we were going to have to push through it. I mean we had no other choice,” Leaf said.

But Leaf said cancer patients feared coming to the salon, and regulars distanced themselves too.

“Very devastating and a lot of our customers were afraid to come. Our regular clients were afraid to come,” Leaf said.

This summer, Leaf said they applied for relief money through the Ohio Department of Development’s East Palestine Emergency Support Program.

On this day, just before the Christmas holiday, Leaf found out the salon was approved for nearly $19,000 in a forgivable loan.

News 5 asked how helpful it will be.

“It’s going to be very helpful. It’ll help us take care of payroll rent utilities inventory,” Leaf said.

But she expressed frustration with the 11-month mark nearing since the toxic disaster.

“My personal opinion is maybe they could have gotten it to us quicker you know because a lot of businesses are suffering like ours,” Leaf said.

Eighteen businesses should get the money over the next few weeks.

They also include a heating and cooling business, grocery store, hardware store, insurance agency and realtor.

Leaf said they have to use the money within 18 months.

News 5 asked if that was long enough to get to a point of feeling strong in the community.

“Maybe, maybe things don’t happen overnight,” Leaf said.

By late this summer, Leaf says she started to see a change for the better in East Palestine and more regulars coming through the door.

“Not all of them but I’d say maybe half you know it’s really taken a toll on our business financially mentally,” Leaf said.

Down the line, she hopes to go full steam with hair replacement but says people need assurances.

“They have to know it’s going to be safe,” Leaf said.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Development says the application is still open, and eligible businesses can still apply. They’ll continue to review applications as they are submitted.

According to a press release from DeWine, the 18 businesses receiving Emergency Support Program loans are:

  • Strohecker Incorporated – $965,145.97
  • Fuller Hardware Inc – $3,107.87 
  • TRIPCO, LLC – $150,000.00 
  • Ohio Valley Foods, Inc. – $566,127.76 
  • Columbiana Sanitation Industries CSI – $62,250.00 
  • McKim’s Honeyvine LLC – $37,400.50 
  • Medart, Inc. – $526,083.36 
  • Brave Industries LLC – $134,500.00 
  • Cardinal Welding, Inc. – $232,021.76 
  • Bea’s Insurance Agency, LLC – $36,518.00 
  • Linsley-Royal Funeral Home – $160,683.50 
  • Gorby’s Grocery, Inc. – $97,721.25 
  • Hardcastle Realty, LLC – $80,066.76 
  • Enchanted Salon, LLC – $18,871.50 
  • 1820 House, LLC- $66,531.25 
  • DAH Realty, LLC – $95,202.00 
  • EPO2, LLC – $15,162.00 
  • Bush Heating, LLC – $87,774.00

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