SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As we continue to take more steps towards normalcy, business owners are reflecting on just how tough things have been the past year.

Hot Oven Cookies in Downtown Springfield is one of the many businesses that received relief from the Paycheck Protection Program. They opened on Main Street right before the pandemic hit.

Owner Sheila Coon told 22News they were going to close their new location but their customers kept the doors open and the PPP loan kept the business afloat. It even allowed them to take their business online.

“We didn’t have any other money coming in, the sales just weren’t there,” Sheila recalled. “It was a feel good mission but we need to support ourselves as well, so when this PPP came about it was when we had decided ‘hey let’s pivot a little bit and do take-and-bake.'”

Sheila added that she hopes to expand on her two stores and open more through western Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Hot Oven Cookies was a stop on Senator Ed Markey’s tour of local businesses Wednesday.