Ikhmies says he can't juggle yet another loan on top of the $25,000 he's already shelling out each month for an equipment loan with more than a year left on it.
Refinancing might give his company breathing room, but the SBA's rules prohibit using disaster loans to pay off existing debt, according to agency spokeswoman Carol Chastang. They're intended only to cover damage and economic losses directly stemming from the disaster.
Rob Walsh, commissioner of New York City's Department of Small Business Services, knows most business owners want more than loans. But he had few alternatives to offer the attendees at Thursday's meeting.
Spirits maker Summers said Red Hook's business owners are pulling together to pool their resources: "It's a community here, and I'm glad to be among friends."
But he's also aware that Sandy's wreckage may be beyond their financial means to repair.
"I want to be positive about this, but the whole thing is tragic," he said.