Mt. Lemmon General Store remains open thanks to federal loan

Posted at 3:58 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 08:49:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Nearly 20,000 Arizona small businesses were approved for payroll protection loans, according to the Small Business Administration. Those first round of loans totaled $2 billion.

One of those recipients was the Mt. Lemmon General Store and Gift Shop.

When it hits 100 degrees in Tucson, many escape to Mt. Lemmon. That usually means a trip to the General Store.

"Mostly I think for our fudge," said General Store owner Grey Carpenter. "But also for supplies that they may have forgotten when they came to the mountain."

Right now, the General Store is only open for pickup. But at least it is open, after taking a big hit from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It hit us pretty tough," recalled Carpenter. "We were down to just a couple days a week, for about a month, before we got the loan. Our business was down about 76 percent at that point."

The Payroll Protection Program saved Grey Carpenter and his wife Teri from having to layoff their six employees.

It has allowed them to expand hours back to seven days per week. Revenues have gone up slightly.

"That PPP loan makes a big difference for us right now, said Carpenter.

Carpenter credits his lender for helping to secure the fedreal loan, which will be forgiven if they use the money for payroll and business expenses.

"Really happy with it when it came through, because I'd heard it was difficult for other companies," said Carpenter. "I don't know if we were lucky or not, but I'm very happy with our bank."

The loans buys the Carpenter's some time as they adjust to waiting on customers through windows, wait for the state to reopen, and wait for the summer busy season.

"It's working pretty well. We're still able to sell people fudge and that's the most important thing."