'Just gone in a flash:' Small business owners grapple with trying to stay afloat with no aid

MILWAUKEE -- A lot of small business owners saw the federal stimulus program as a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic, but two people FOX6 spoke with said they did everything right and will not be seeing a dime of that money.

David Fricke

"Everything I worked for was just gone in a flash, like a light switch," said David Fricke.

A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into Fricke's Racine business, but he's never experienced anything like this.

"It's the worst waiting game of my life trying to deal with the government," Fricke said.

Fricke owns the Fosters ReStore -- a thrift store selling clothes, furniture and shoes -- which provides clothing to hundreds of foster children.

Last month, the business closed after it was deemed non-essential.

Fosters reStore

"We got shut down due to the pandemic. I think it was maybe the worst week of my life, pretty much looked at losing everything we possibly worked for," Fricke said.

He applied for what he saw as a lifeline -- a federal small business loan.

He waited and waited, but never saw money. Thursday, the news got worse when he learned the $350 billion dollar program was out of money.

"If we don't get any type of funding, 30 days max. We just can't go any further," Fricke said.

Fricke is not alone.

"I'm scared, I'm frustrated, I'm annoyed, you name it," Janet Janik said.

Janet Janik

Janik owns a salon in West Bend. She says time is running out.

"I've been in business over 25 years, so where do you go," she said. "Us true small businesses, who do we have fighting for us."

It's a sentiment shared by many, the clock is ticking as these businesses try to stay afloat while looking for needed help.

Many are waiting on Congress to approve another $250 billion for the program. If and when that happens, the two businesses said they will have to start from scratch and re-apply. They hope it's not too late, too late.