How one local business owner plans to rebuild

The Atomic Omelette scrambles to stay afloat
Posted at 5:56 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 19:01:12-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Small businesses can begin the process of applying for the Payroll Protection Plan.

It’s a loan from the government to help them stay open, pay their bills and employees, as the nation battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

After eight years on Wooldridge, Mike Van Syckle moved the Atomic Omlette Grill into its big, new location on the corner of Staples and Timbergate.

He was excited.

But then the pandemic hit.

Now he’s just trying to keep his new place open and his workers employed, saying the losses are worse than he ever imagined.

"Yes it is," Van Syckle said. "I didn’t anticipate us being down 70% in sales."

Van Syckle has already applied for a loan through the federal government’s Payroll Protection Plan.

It’s money for small businesses to pay employees, rent and bills.

Owners can only apply for loans thru their banks, which Van Syckle has already done.

"They reached out to me the day before we opened when they heard things were going to be happening," Van Syckle said. "And let me know that they were there to help me out if I need anything."

The list of information he provided was extensive.

"Three years of information about your business. They want 3 years of your personal tax. They want to know what your assets are," he said.

The Texas Restaurant Owners Association sent this letter titled ‘The Flaws in PPP’ to its members.

One is the June 30 deadline to apply for a loan.

The association points out restaurants don’t know at this point whether they’ll be able to open their doors by then.

Another point the TRA makes is whether restaurants will be able to pay back the loan at the 1% interest rate over 2 years.

Yet another point is how much of the $350 billion dollars available will still be there when sole proprietors, independent contractors begin filing beginning on Friday.

Van Syckle says he has a pretty good idea of how much of a loan he qualifies for, because the amount is based on 2019 numbers.

But he’s going to have to make some tough decisions.

"It doesn’t quite give me exactly what I need to continue moving forward, so we’re gonna have to downsize a little bit," he said.

And where else is Van Syckle receiving help?

His landlord is really helping the businesses in The Market at Timbergate, Atomic Omlette’s new location.

"He’s gonna have us mainly pay our triple net, which would be our taxes and insurance for him and forego the rent until later on this year," Van Syckle said.

We contacted U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Corpus Christi) for his thoughts on the Payroll Protection Plan.

“I have been working not only to get information about the Paycheck Protection Program out to small businesses but also to provide a feedback loop, ensuring the program’s intentions are being realized on main street," Cloud said in a prepared statement. "I have spoken with a number of small businesses and community lenders about the challenges they are facing with the initial launch, and we are working with the Small Business Administration (SBA), Treasury Department, and other federal officials to ensure these issues are heard and quickly addressed.

"The Trump Administration launched the program one week from the day the CARES Act passed, balancing between perfection and the need to rapidly get support to small businesses that support families across America. As needs arise, small businesses and banks in our district should please contact my office by visiting [], and we will take them up with the SBA to find answers and provide fixes.”