Financial Therapy in the Time of Need
Rhonda Allen started as a Marketing Director for a Physical Therapist, when one day she was presented with an opportunity that completely changed the trajectory of her career. Because of her hard work, dedication, and a knack for management, she was offered the opportunity to purchase the existing physical therapy business from the owner. She jumped at the opportunity, changed the name, and Premier Physical Therapy was born in 2011. From its beginning the business has thrived and has overcome many obstacles, but nothing quite like COVID-19.
On March 13, 2020 COVID-19 was declared a national disaster, and shortly thereafter non-essential businesses in the State of Alabama were mandated to close. As an essential business, Premier Physical Therapy remained open, however, COVID-19 caused a major reduction in the patients they serviced. The number of doctor referrals they received was drastically reduced because elective procedures were no longer being performed. The number of patients being seen decreased due to the enhanced risk associated with contracting the deadly virus and telemedicine was becoming the new normal. They went from serving 40 patients a day to serving only nine. Ultimately Rhonda Allen was faced with the toughest decision of all, "how can I afford to keep my staff and maintain operations?"
A series of questions and scenarios plagued Rhonda’s mind and she wondered what she could do to keep her business open and her staff on payroll. As a longtime customer of Trustmark Bank, she was contacted by her banker regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and she was urged to apply. Premier Physical Therapy was approved for a $98,000 PPP loan which allowed the business to continue providing essential services to their patients. They also applied for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and received approval for $22,600.
Although the business has not fully returned to where it was pre-COVID-19, Premier Physical Therapy was able to retain 88 percent of its staff as well as keep their doors open. Prior to COVID-19 Rhonda Allen had never sought the assistance of SBA services, but thanks to the PPP and the SBA EIDL, the business has been able to remain as a pillar in their community. When asked what did PPP do for her business, Rhonda proudly stated, “kept my people paying their bills, working and supporting their families. As one who doesn’t take government handouts, this was a godsend. It was a resource available at the time of need.”