KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Since the coronavirus pandemic began, businesses across the Kansas City metro have had to pivot to keep their doors open. And one area nonprofit has stepped up to help.
Zaid Consuegra continues to adjust on what often seems like a weekly basis.
“It’s been rough,” he said.
Consuegra owns Pirate’s Bone Burgers off of West 20th and Main streets. The restaurant, specializing in plant-based food, still is operating off of a model of carryout only.
“We are strategizing, we have been thinking nonstop on how do we make this better,” he said.
AltCap has been working with businesses since the beginning of the pandemic to provide flexible, small COVID-19 loans. Since April, AltCap has raised $5 million for these loans, which don’t require businesses to pay interest or capital in the first six months.
AltCap has about $1 million left to loan.
“These small businesses got blindsided by this through no fault of their own," Ruben Alonso III, the group’s president, said. "They had to shut down, practically close their business for a couple months, so we wanted to give them a little bit of a breathing room to get through this."
Cottontale KC, a cotton candy business, is among the establishments that took advantage of these COVID-19 loans to pivot its business model.
“All of our jobs either canceled or postponed,” said Tiffany Bosserman, who owns Cottontale KC.
Instead of specifically focusing on cotton candy and relying on events, such as weddings, Bosserman and her husband expanded their business to encompass other sweets. The company now plans to open a brick-and-mortar store.
“Our business is designed to be very nimble," Steve Bosserman said. "It’s catering. It’s this one product, and it’s in this category of desserts, so we could really pivot."
With COVID-19 cases continuing to increase in the metro, Alonso said other small businesses might need to pivot as well.
“If we see another wave, another slow down, another shut down, I think we are going to have to go out and raise more capital (to help businesses),” he said. “As long as they can get through this pandemic, I think they can come back even stronger. I just think they’re going to need that financial lifeline.”
“If our sales don’t drop anymore we might be able to make it for another four months of this,” he said.
AltCap is collaborating with KC BizCare and city council members for a Small Business Big Voice listening tour. The virtual listening sessions are set for districts within Kansas City, Missouri. The goal is to allow small businesses and entrepreneurs to voice what they need from the city.
The listening tour is scheduled for: 6 p.m. Wednesday in the 5th District; 6 p.m. Dec. 2 in the 4th District; and 10:30 a.m. Jan. 9 in the 6th District.
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