With billions of dollars in forgivable loans available from the Small Business Administration, Elizabeth Christian, CEO of the well-known Austin public relations firm, took action immediately.
She got a loan in five days.
"When the SBA Paycheck Protection Program was announced, we jumped on it," she said. "For most small businesses, having a forgivable loan for two months of payroll and rent, with no personal guarantee by the small business owner, is an amazing benefit. For some, it will be the difference between life and death for the company."
Some Austin businesses have struggled to get answers from the SBA, but Christian was able to secure a loan quickly.
She contacted Eddie Safady, vice chairman of Prosperity Bancshares. Prosperity is ECPR's long-term banker. With Safady engaged step-by-step, the company submitted its application on April 3—the first day the SBA accepted applications.
Christian said her firm executed loan documents on April 7 and were fully funded within 24 hours. She said she received the full amount of what she had applied for, enough to cover her payroll needs for two and a half months. She declined to reveal a specific amount.
ECPR employs 21 people in an office at 8008 Spicewood Lane. On March 27, President Donald Trump signed into law the $2 billion Cares Act, which includes $377 billion to small businesses. Any portion of a loan used to maintain payroll, keep workers on the books or pay for rent, mortgage or existing debt can be forgiven, provided workers stay employed through the end of June.
"Unbelievable!" said Christian. "Many businesses—I hope—are having the same experience, but we felt particularly lucky to be working with an independent bank with which we've had a 25-year partnership," said Christian.
ECPR, established in 1995, specializes in media relations, video production, legislative efforts, social media, event planning and crisis communications. Christian was an assistant business news editor of The Los Angeles Times in the 1980s, and she is the daughter of the late George Christian, press secretary to President Lyndon Johnson. Her husband, former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd, is of counsel to ECPR.
Founded in 1983, Prosperity Bank has 242 locations and is owned by Prosperity Bancshares In., a $22.7 billion Houston-based holding company.
"The government came through, and so did our bankers," Christian said.
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- San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
- Still Austin Whiskey Co. introduces "The Artist," its new rye whiskey.
- Domain NORTHSIDE favorites Bakery Lorraine, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jeni's Ice Cream and Sprinkles released their fall flavors.
- Cinnaholic at The Arboretum opens Friday, October 14, serving "create your own" cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats.
- San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
- Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."