During a typical year, Ashish Patel and his team would spend his Spring preparing for an influx of travelers visiting Southwest Virginia to celebrate graduation ceremonies at Virginia Tech and Radford University. They would be spending their late summer and early fall bursting at the seams with Hokie Football fans checking in and out of their facility. For the team at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Radford, VA, and the rest of the world, 2020 is not a typical year.
In early March, the Governor of Virginia announced a stay at home order and restrictions on businesses from a variety of industries. As a hospitality facility, the income for Ash’s business all but vanished overnight.
“I was pretty depressed,” says Ash, earnestly. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay my employees, cover my bills, or pay my mortgage. It got to the point where all of it would just bring me to tears.”
He adds that if it weren’t for Carter Bank & Trust’s assistance in acquiring a Paycheck Protection Program loan, he and the Comfort Inn & Suites would have been facing major financial problems.
Ash’s relationship with Carter Bank & Trust began in 2015, when his partner acquired a loan to purchase the Comfort Inn & Suites property. He relocated from North Carolina and started a new venture, getting to know commercial banker Tyler Carter along the way. The business holds a variety of business accounts to support them.
When the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program launched, Ash applied for a loan through a third party that Carter Bank & Trust partnered with. When the business was not granted the loan, Tyler Carter took the time to reach back out to Ash to assure him that he would personally work on his application to make sure he had the best opportunity possible.
“It was such a different experience the second time,” says Ash. “It was so nice to have someone to call with questions who would be on the other end to pick up the phone.”
Ash found out 2 days after the second round began that Tyler and the team at Carter Bank & Trust were able to acquire a Paycheck Protection Program loan. In the both rounds of the Paycheck Protection Program, Carter Bank & Trust processed 966 loans and secured $57.8 million in loans for current and future customers.
“I was so happy. In these tough times, you need a helping hand who can be there to support you,” says Ash. “I was thankful that [Tyler] was on my side to help me out.”
Since receiving the Paycheck Protection Program loan, Ash has continued to receive information from Carter Bank & Trust and Choice Hotels International, Inc. on how to make sure his business receives full forgiveness for his loan. He has been able to maintain employment of 13 employees, despite operating at more than a 65% decrease in sales.
While there’s still a lot of uncertainty and a lot to be concerned about, Ash Patel rests easy knowing that he’s been able to provide a paycheck for his employees and continue to serve the travelers who still call Comfort Inn & Suites home for the night. He isn’t sure whether they’ll see an increase in business for football season, but he’s hopeful that if there isn’t, Carter Bank & Trust will be there to lend a helping hand in finding solutions or relief programs that can keep them going.