CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – When we visited Aldo’s Cleaners in Coral Springs three weeks ago the clothes hung quietly and the presses sat unmanned.

When we returned on Wednesday, we saw a much different story.

Workers ironed pants, tended to orders and moved clothes around the business. Katie Forman is one of those who returned to work.

“I’m glad to get back out of the house and get working,” she said.

Owner Aldo Cataldo failed to get government funding through the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program. But he did receive $50,000 in the second round and was funded late last week. That allowed him to bring back seven of his nine workers. They returned to work on Wednesday.

“We were frustrated, getting it so late but (it’s a) pretty good feeling knowing that you have a lifeline to buy us a little more time to get back on our feet,” Cataldo said.

Forman said while she wasn’t working for Aldo’s she did receive federal stimulus money for her and her daughter. She said she works a side job but is struggling to keep up with bills.

“Financially, it’s been hard,” she admitted. “This was my main income, so being home, not doing anything, not having no income, luckily, my bills, my car payment, certain people have been working with me. But not having that extra income coming in, it affected me and my bills.”

Cataldo said he feels gratified that he could bring back most of his employees.

“It was great,” he said. “Hadn’t seen them in so long. Some of them have been working here for five, six years.”

The business is considered essential, so Cataldo stayed open the past few weeks but estimates he lost 90 percent of his business. He said he’s seen a slight uptick in sales recently but he and his workers wonder how long it will take the economy — and his bottom line — to recover.

“If people don’t get back to work and people aren’t going to restaurants and aren’t having events like weddings and bar mitzvah’s, it will obviously impact us,” Cataldo said.

“We’re a small business and people going out really helps our business,” Forman said. “We need their cleaning and their clothes in order to operate, and I was scared we weren’t gonna be open anymore.”

The money that Cataldo received through the PPP loan will cover a large portion of two months of pay for his employees and, like many small business owners, he’s concerned about the choices he’ll face if his business doesn’t recover in the next two months when that money runs out.

“July 1, hopefully we’ll be back to normal,” he said.

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Carey Codd

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