LAWRENCE (WBZ-AM) -- Help is on the way for Merrimack Valley business owners struggling in the wake of the gas explosions and fires, with $1 million in loans being made available to them.
Gov. Charlie Baker made the announcement at Papi's Grocery, a small bodega on South Union Street, Friday morning. Papi's Grocery has been open in South Lawrence for 28 years--but it's been closed since the gas fires.
"Small businesses, generally speaking, especially retail, hospitality, neighborhood downtown businesses, are not businesses that have lots of reserves that they can turn around and invest in something," Gov. Baker said. "I think part of what we're trying to do here is to shorten the length of time that's associated with this disruption so these folks can actually hold onto their customers."
Papi himself just put in a new gas-fired kitchen he can't use. He told those gathered that he hopes to reopen soon. He just hopes he doesn't lose his customers.
"Yeah, when I see them in the street--'Papi, when you gonna open? When you gonna open?'" he said.
That $1 million is available now.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports