By Dan Nordberg and Marla Trollan
As leaders within the U.S. Small Business Administration, we have the privilege to partner with businesses and communities as entrepreneurs pursue their American Dream even amidst today’s extreme challenges. Last week, we visited Moab and some surrounding towns to learn how they’ve weathered the pandemic, and we were encouraged to hear about the ways so many have not only kept their businesses viable, but have gone above and beyond to support their community.
Take the Donut Shop, for example. Aside from serving some of the most delicious donuts you will ever taste (have you tried their double-dipped donut holes?), owner John Schwader stayed open throughout COVID-19 to provide sweet treats for his homebound neighbors. He retained his employees using a Paycheck Protection Program loan and aided his businesses through an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. These lending programs are facilitated by the SBA and are designed to support business employee retention and disaster mitigation.
Although many of The Donut Shop’s commercial accounts slowed as office hours diminished, the business seized the opportunity to do good for their community. Using extra supplies and manpower, they delivered dozens of freshly made donuts every day to front-line workers at the hospital. Schwader chalks it up as a way to give back to Moab. “Without community support, I wouldn’t have a business,” he said.
Sweet Cravings Bakery has also demonstrated the innovation and service of small businesses in the last few months. Shortly after the pandemic hit, Cinda Culton, owner of the bakery, pivoted her business model to become a grocery resource for Moab citizens. She utilized a PPP loan to cover payroll costs, which enabled her business to amplify their community service efforts.
These stories are just [two] that demonstrate the incredible actions of your business community, and the SBA is honored to play a part in making them possible. To date, more than 50,000 Utah businesses have received over $5 billion in loans. These dollars fueled local economies, made sure families continued to receive paychecks, and kept hometown businesses afloat.
Visiting your community, we were reminded that so much good is happening despite the challenges around us. People are giving back to the community. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Companies are going the extra mile. Yes, times are tough, but by investing in local businesses, we’re truly building a foundation for a stronger tomorrow.
We are profoundly grateful to the Moab business community and Mayor Emily Neihaus for hosting us last week. We’re also thankful for the partnerships with Senator Lee and Senator Romney’s staffs as we work to strengthen these programs. Together, we’ll continue empowering Utah entrepreneurs to serve their hometowns and pursue their American Dream. To learn more about the PPP or other SBA programs, visit sba.gov/ut.
Dan Nordberg serves as the national director for rural affairs for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Marla Trollan serves as director for the SBA Utah District Office.