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DeKalb County business leaders offer office hours for advice on COVID-19 loan programs

DeKALB – Two DeKalb business leaders are offering their help to fellow small-business owners who are applying for federal aid to retain employees and keep operations running during the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

For small-business owners wishing to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, an emergency loan administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, free, weekly office hours are offered in two places in DeKalb.

According to a news release from the DeKalb County UNITES group, Cohen Barnes, owner of Sundog IT and Brian Oster, owner of OC Creative, have both successfully applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, and will subsequently provide office hours for other business looking to apply, as well.

“It is in all of our best interests to help one another as much as we can right now,” Oster said in the release. “Having been through this complicated application process, I am glad to share what I’ve learned with others who are in the same boat. We are all in this together.”

Barnes and Oster will help local business owners with the online application process and scan the paperwork that must accompany the application.

Office hours at Sundog IT will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 30 at 230 E. Lincoln Highway, Suite 200, DeKalb. Barnes can be reached at 815-991-2402 or email

OC Creative’s office hours will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through April 30 at 1600 E. Lincoln Highway, Suite D, DeKalb. Brian can be reached at 815-756-8000 or email

Business owners who wish to take advantage of the free application assistance should bring their most recent financial statements and payroll information and any other documents requested by their financial institution to their appointment with Barnes or Oster.

“It is gratifying to see so many in the community coming to the aid of their neighbors,” Barnes added. “The small business sector is in many ways the heart of the community. We need to do all we can to help these businesses weather this economic storm.”

Barnes and Oster are both members of DeKalb County UNITES (DKCU), a grass roots organization formed in early March to support the small business sector in the face of the pandemic. DKCU offers free webinars three times a week on topics of interest for small-business owners, covering everything from how to access federal disaster relief funds to the most effective strategies for marketing through a crisis.

DKCU also is working with large businesses and institutions in DeKalb County to encourage them to direct their purchasing power to the small business sector to provide much-needed support.

For information about the programs, visit

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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