Snowfire in Waterbury sells and fixes cars.
It's a busy Monday in the shop, a stark contrast to almost a year ago.
"We never had water over the road, this time it was 2 feet over the road, and through the business it was a shocker for everybody," said Skip Hoblin of Snowfire.
Irene stormed through Snowfire leaving mud, debris and wrecking all the cars on the lot, causing about 100-thousand dollars in damages.
Owner Skip Hoblin needed cash for clean up. He considered applying for a small business administration loan, but decided against it when the SBA wanted three years of business records. Irene had ruined his papers and computer.
"Where do I put my energy into opening the business or a loan I don't know if I'll get?" asked Hoblin.
When it comes to getting a loan from the federal government, many Vermont business owners were like Skip Hoblin. Of the 1900 Small business administration loan applications handed out, only 234 business owners filed paperwork, with 137 actually getting a loan.
"Lets make SBA and federal government work better for people in the wake of the next storm, that's the goal here," said representative Peter Welch.
After hearing concerns, Congressman Peter Welch sent a letter to the SBA asking the agency to create a new emergency loan program. It would simplify the loan process for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. For example he says instead of the SBA requiring years of records that may have been destroyed owners could sign a waiver giving the SBA access to tax returns. Loan approval Welch says should take days, not weeks.
"The real threat to a business is the gap between the storm and when they reopen their doors - the longer that is - the less their chances of survival are," said Welch.
Tom Stevens represents Waterbury at the statehouse. He says a big problem post irene was lack of federal money for small businesses without flood insurance. At least two Waterbury have shut down.
"If this program were in place to make it easier to reach out to the SBA then I think it would have positively affected this community in the immediate aftermath," said Stevens.
After being in business for 33 years Skip Hoblin had good credit and was able to get a loan from his bank and reopen with help from employees and volunteers a week after Irene.
"As a local business we did it but it wasn't easy." said Hoblin.
Fixing the business so it can once again fix cars.