small business

Local Clothing Chain Flashbacks Faces Uncertainty After Being Denied PPP Loan

The owner of Flashbacks was unable to obtain a federal small business loan and was disappointed to learn much of the money went to larger businesses

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Flashbacks, a vibrant and colorful vintage clothing store that has been in business on Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest for 26 years, may be forced to close permanently due to the coronavirus pandemic, the owner tells NBC 7.

The storefront has become a part of the rich character of the community but on March 18, when the county added additional restrictions to their public health order, owner Natalie Cochran was forced to close the store.

March is usually Flashbacks' second-busiest month, due to a number of festivals that people dress up for. But with those events canceled, and the store shuttered, Cochran said she was forced to lay off 40 employees at her four locations in Encinitas, Carlsbad and San Diego and now has to figure out a way to cover about $100,000 in monthly overhead costs.

She's now wondering when and if she’ll ever be able to reopen.

“It’s very sad to come in hear and see it empty and dark, considering all the life that was in here before,” said Cochran.

Earlier this month, Cochran applied for a loan under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. She was confident they would help but then she got the bad news from her bank.

“We did everything we could in our power, in the most timely manner we could, and yet, we still didn’t make it through. In fact, our application was ready for signature on the day that the funding ran out,” said Cochran.

Like many other frustrated small business owners, Cochran said she was disappointed to learn many of the federal loan money went to many larger businesses.

One of those businesses is Adamis Pharmaceuticals, based in Carmel Valley. According to Morgan Stanley, Adamis is a publicly-traded company worth $26 million. It was granted a $3.2 million loan. NBC has reached out to Adamis Pharmaceuticals for comment but has yet to receive an answer.

Cochran said she wasn’t surprised and is still holding out hope she’ll be able to receive federal loan money once Congress approves the second round of funding on Thursday.

“I’m really, really disappointed, but I was trying to prepare for not getting it as well. And I’m still doubtful for round two, that there’s enough money for everybody, because there’s just so much help that’s needed.”

Meanwhile, Cochran is facing a world of unknowns, not sure when she’ll be able to reopen, and what restrictions will be put on her business.

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