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FERGUSON, Mo. (KSDK) - Some north St. Louis County businesses are struggling to return to normal. So, now, a new loan program could help them get back on their feet.

Some of the businesses that experienced a drop in sales are located in the complex where the command post was located. Now, that post has been dismantled. But, some stores say business has been slow to pick back up.

"It was a ghost town, we'd be sitting here looking at each other," said Rodney Gavin, assistant manager at City Gear.

The blocked roadways and short hours not only hurt sales, but also employees' paychecks who are paid on an hourly basis.

"I wasn't upset, I totally understood what was going on. None of us here were really upset. It was just a hassle," said Gavin.

It was more than a hassle for some smaller, locally-owned businesses, and especially for those damaged. Now some are having trouble paying for basic expenses, like utilities. So, on Thursday, Governor Jay Nixon helped announce a $1 million interest-free loan program available to them. And, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel says this is only the beginning, when it comes to rebuilding from what's happened, and what may be to come.

"I think there's a tremendous amount of fear and uncertainty in different areas. But the reality is, what they know and what we know is that we have to make investments now. This investment of a million dollars today is something bigger than just helping the business here and now. It's creating a tangible infrastructure so that whatever happens, that we're prepared for that," said Zweifel.

State leaders say, because businesses will be a key part of building a better future, and even those directly affected by the unrest are getting behind that.

"Finally, we're trying to stick together as one community and stand up for something," said Gavin.

The loan program is funded in equal parts by the state, two different regional economic development agencies, and a local bank coalition.

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