18 East Palestine Businesses Get $3.3M in Forgivable State Loans

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – Eighteen businesses directly affected by the derailment Feb. 3 of the Norfolk Southern freight train will share more than $3.3 million in forgivable loans, Gov. Mike DeWine announced today.

“The strong business community here in East Palestine is more than just the backbone of the local economy, it’s the heart and soul of this town,” said DeWine in announcing the loans. “By supporting these businesses, we’re giving them the tools to recover and restore jobs, services, and the vibrancy of their community.” 

The derailment dealt a near-death blow to economic activity in East Palestine, where some business owners recently told The Business Journal they considered it a good day if they made just one sale.

Twenty of the affected cars contained hazardous materials and some caught fire. Concerned they might explode, state officials authorized a controlled release of toxic fumes.

The business loans were approved through the Ohio Department of Development’s East Palestine Emergency Support Program, which launched in August to provide loans to businesses impacted by the train derailment. Businesses are eligible to apply for zero percent interest, forgivable loans ranging from $10,000 to $1 million to assist with ongoing expenses and recovery efforts. In total, $5 million was made available for the program.  

The 18 businesses receiving Emergency Support Program loans are: 

  • Strohecker Incorporated – $965,145.97
  • Fuller Hardware Inc – $3,107.87  
  • TRIPCO, LLC – $150,000.00  
  • Ohio Valley Foods, Inc. – $566,127.76  
  • Columbiana Sanitation Industries CSI  – $62,250.00  
  • McKim’s Honeyvine LLC – $37,400.50  
  • Medart, Inc. – $526,083.36  
  • Brave Industries LLC – $134,500.00  
  • Cardinal Welding, Inc. – $232,021.76  
  • Bea’s Insurance Agency, LLC – $36,518.00  
  • Linsley-Royal Funeral Home – $160,683.50  
  • Gorby’s Grocery, Inc.  – $97,721.25  
  • Hardcastle Realty, LLC – $80,066.76  
  • Enchanted Salon, LLC – $18,871.50  
  • 1820 House, LLC- $66,531.25  
  • DAH Realty, LLC – $95,202.00  
  • EPO2, LLC – $15,162.00  
  • Bush Heating, LLC – $87,774.00 

“The economic health of East Palestine relies on the resilience of its businesses,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “The impact of these loans goes beyond dollars and cents – it’s about positioning these businesses for recovery and long-term success.” 

The loans are forgivable if utilized for payroll, employee benefits, rent or mortgage payments, utility expenses, worker protection, or inventory replacement expenses related to the train derailment.  

“These loans are an important step to getting our community back to normal and making sure that our businesses are taken care of,” said Mayor Trent Conaway. “It’s good to know that the state has our back as we continue on the path to recovery as a community.”  

Additional loan applications are under review by the Ohio Department of Development. Eligible Ohio businesses can still apply for a loan through the online application available here.

For-profit and nonprofit Ohio businesses located within a two-mile radius of East Palestine that were operating on or before Dec. 1, 2022, are eligible to apply.  The loan program was created in partnership with the Ohio General Assembly with funds from the Controlling Board Emergency Purposes/Contingencies Fund. 

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.