Founded in 2019 by Anthony and Lateshia Jackson, A&L Environmental is an African American-owned and operated business serving the Chicagoland area. The company specializes in asbestos removal, lead mitigation, mold remediation, encapsulation and demolition for the construction industry.
A&L Environmental entered 2020 with a large commercial contract in hand and a steady stream of residential projects that were poised to help the company grow. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the company’s fortunes in an instant. The long-term contract was put on hold as government and large commercial projects paused in response to the pandemic.
Despite having a $1 million contract in hand, the company was denied a first-round PPP loan twice from its primary depository bank given the young age of the business. Lateshia Jackson, the company’s co-founder and CEO, was disappointed and somewhat alarmed; A&L needed cash to retain its eight full-time employees and complete the projects it had in hand.
One of the company’s clients told Jackson about CRF before the second round of PPP launched; he had received a CRF PPP loan for his business in the first round. Jackson immediately reached out to CRF, which gave her an opportunity to obtain much-needed PPP funds. Not only did the company need to make payroll, but A&L operates in a very cash-intensive industry. Specialized equipment, waste disposal costs and required safety precautions all contribute to the company’s cash flow.
CRF worked directly with Jackson to complete and submit the company’s PPP application, which was approved within two weeks of applying. A&L used the funds for payroll and plans to seek forgiveness for the loan. As business continues to pick up and the company’s large long-term contract project has resumed, Jackson is anticipating a period of growth for A&L, creating more jobs as well as a planned incubator program for youth to get industry exposure and work experience.
Jackson credits CRF with giving the company the resources necessary to weather the economic downturn, particularly the hands-on, high-touch approach she experienced from CRF. Despite the early setbacks of the pandemic, construction projects are resuming and A&L is returning to its pre-pandemic levels of revenue.