KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the metro starts to open back up, new small businesses are taking off. Shop Local KC, an extension of its owner’s other passion project “The Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair,” hosted a soft opening at its brick and mortar location on Friday.
“It feels really amazing and also a little scary at the same time,” owner Katie Mabry van Dieren said. “I would say don’t give up, because if I had given up, I wouldn’t have had this store.”
She said the timing of her opening could not have been better, but like many other small businesses during the pandemic, success did not come easy.
She said she plans to use her new business venture to support other local shops.
“Because right now, especially after the pandemic, we found that shopping local is so important. We saw restaurants close, all businesses close, we have to support them,” Mabry van Dieren said.
She said she could not have made her dream a reality without the help of Alt-Cap and its micro loan program.
“So, I reached out to Alt-Cap because I know I wanted to purchase all of the maker’s items out front instead of commission or consignment where you don’t pay for it upfront. I wanted to pay all of these women and men, small businesses right away,” she said.
Alt-Cap’s Director of Business Development, Davin Gordon, said soft openings like this remind local businesses that rebound is possible.
But with the Paycheck Protection Program closing this portal this past week, many will continue to struggle. The federal PPP loans have helped 8.5 million small businesses by offering them forgivable loans.
Gordon said while it may seem like an uphill battle, there are always options.
“There’s going to be micro loans available through Alt-Cap with the COVID regional relief fund, a lot of banks have lines of credits, there are some talks around the administration about additional stimulus packages and there’s typically one-off grant opportunities,” he said.
Alt-Cap’s micro loan program will resume this summer. Gordon and his staff will also be following up and providing consultation on PPP forgiveness for those who received those loans.