Popular Asiatown neighborhood restaurant closes up shop, denied life-saving PPP loan

Tastebuds Restaurant couldn’t survive without the help.

Popular Asiatown neighborhood restaurant closes up shop, denied life-saving PPP loan

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Many businesses are staying afloat thanks to life-saving PPP loans, but what about the ones who were denied?

Popular Asiatown neighborhood restaurant closes up shop, denied life-saving PPP loan

“I would have never thought in a million years that this would be the end of Taste Buds,” Bridget McGinty, owner of Taste Buds Restaurant.

She had to make the tough call to close up shop, after 19 years in business, when they were denied a PPP loan.

“We were modest, we only applied for $20,000,” she said.

McGinty says she was confident and optimistic when they turned in their completed paperwork right away.

They had five employees and served about 2-300 people a day in her Asiatown neighborhood café.

KeyBank assured them, she says, they were among the first in line to receive money.

“I reached out to my landlord. I reached out to insurance, even an attorney. It was just gut punches left and right, no relief coming. Nobody’s going to help us out," McGinty said.

It was the PPP loan or bust.

And when she got word that they were denied, but saw that chains and millionaires were being approved for loans, she says she lost her will to fight.

"I just knew that if we didn’t get this loan, we would not make it. There’s no way to come back with a deficit like...

Posted by Jen Picciano Cleveland 19 on Monday, June 1, 2020

“The feeling of being abandoned by everyone that I’d paid money to all these years. Ninteen years of paying taxes, of paying insurance, of paying into these things that are meant to save me and everyone turns their back on me. That was so insulting and so hurtful,” she said.

The 19 News Investigative unit found that several local companies did get approved for millions in PPP loans.

Crawford United Corporation in Cleveland, a holding company for industrial products, has 271 employees and were approved for $3.6 million.

Athersys, Inc. a biotechnology company headquartered in Cleveland, with 83 employees was approved for $1.3 million.

Sifco Industries, metal component manufacture with 434 employees, was approved for $5 million.

And Energy Focus Inc., a sustainable LED lighting company out of Solon with 42 employees, was approved for $794,000.

McGinty says hearing those kind of numbers when she couldn’t get $20,000 was a tough pill to swallow.

"What blew my mind completely was the millionaires and billionaires who saw free money and went running toward it, and got it,” she said.

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