WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Edgewood Outfitters is a hip new clothing shop snuggled in the center of the Williamsburg Premium Outlets.

“We’re heavy in denim. We love our denim, we love band T-shirts, dresses,” business partners, Karen Hampton and Gabrielle Mueller, told WAVY.com.

They opened at the height of pandemic in November, Hampton said.

“Our first day open was also our grand opening and the governor’s — the strictest restrictions went into place that night before,” Hampton said.

It was too late to back out. The friends had sunk all their savings into this dream and quit their old jobs to make it come true.

“The biggest difficulty is we haven’t been able to hire staff,” Hampton said.

They thought the Paycheck Protection Program could help, but learned they didn’t qualify.

PPP loans require that businesses be operational by Feb. 15, 2020, just before the pandemic began.

“We’re women business owners and minority as well, so it’s — it’s been a struggle,” said Hampton.

They want to know what’s out there to help startups when banks are leery to loan.

10 On Your Side reached out to our local congressional delegation to ask.

The office of Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Westmoreland) responded: “Congressman Wittman believes strongly in the value of small business and has helped many small businesses navigate state and federal relief throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its creation, The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has always required businesses to have been operational by February 15, 2020. Congressman Wittman’s office will reach out to Edgewood Outfitters and gladly assist in locating any other relief or resources they may be eligible for.”

In the meantime, the business owners have hope that more vaccine shots in arms will lead to more foot traffic in their store because in the words of Mueller, “Failure is not an option.”