Tamika Adjemian owns Unity Kitchen, where she opened a few months before the coronavirus struck the United States. It offered live music and game nights, which usually packed the cafe, until the pandemic shut businesses down, she said.

A glitch in the state’s Hospitality Grant Funding prevented her from being eligible because of how new her business was, she said. So she applied and received $6,500 for her first Paycheck Protection Program loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration, but it was still not enough to bring her staff back.

She is waiting for approval of a second PPP loan for about $8,000, which she hopes to use to bring a staff member back part-time and pay bills, she said. But it is still not enough to put her pre-pandemic business goals back on track.

“It’s so hard, because I have nothing to compare it to," she said. "I think before COVID, with our tourist season we would have been even bigger.”

According to Bangor Savings Bank Chief Commercial Officer Jim Donnelly, demand for the loans seems to be slower the second time around, compared to when they were first made available last spring, which might stem from people taking advantage of other loans available through other federal and state agencies. It also might be a sign that the funds are going to more small businesses than before, he said.

Nationally, the SBA made 1,661,367 PPP loans totaling $342,277,999,103 during the first round of the program, according to the agency's website. Most loans were approved for less than $150,000.

Bangor Savings Bank made 255 Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses in Waldo County during the first round of payments last April to total $16 million distributed in the county, Donnelly said. Since the second round of PPP loans was made available nearly a month ago, the bank has assisted about 49 businesses, with 39 of them already approved for loans.

Hospitality and construction are the most-served types of businesses this time around, he said. Ninety percent of the bank’s PPP applicants also received a loan during the first round. Bangor Savings handles 25% to 35% of PPP loans made in Maine.

The bank is reaching out to underserved groups like minorities and veterans about their financial needs, he said. The bank has additional funding for hospitality industry businesses, which have been hardest hit.

Businesses in the hospitality industry are eligible for 3 1/2 times their 2020 or 2019 payroll, and all other businesses are eligible for 2 1/2 times their previous year’s payroll. Donnelly urges business owners to consider applying for a second PPP loan within the next seven weeks that the program is still open if they have not yet considered it; a PPP loan is fully forgivable.

For Kiril Lozanov, who owns The Crosby Center and Capital City Renewables Inc., the application is difficult, because the paperwork is complex, he said. He received a PPP loan during the first round for his wind energy company, but ended up paying a substantial amount in labor to prepare the application.

He does not think he would be eligible for a PPP loan for The Crosby Center, which has held no events since the start of the pandemic, he said. But the bills and utility costs still need to be paid, despite the lack of business.

Applying for a PPP loan requires deciding whether he wants to dedicate a substantial amount of time in labor to apply for the loan, he said. He would like to, but he does not know if he can afford to.

“Nobody's really qualified to do this kind of work, it takes a lot of time to figure it out,” he said. “So, I would like to apply for the next one. It’s just, we haven’t done it yet.”