KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Small Business Administration says its loan application numbers are exploding.
Last year the SBA had 60,000 applications, and in March of 2020 they had 500,000 alone.
Small business are struggling, but one local woman came up with a creative way to keep makers making money in the metro.
“Welcome to the first episode of Meet the Maker!” Katie Mabry van Dieren said on a Facebook live from her Strawberry Swing page.
The Swing usually brings around 150 makers together for the ultimate indie shopping experience, but now they’re all online.
“Bear with us, and have #COVID grace,” Mabry van Dieren said. “I thought, ‘Why not do an online QVC-style shopping where you meet the maker and they’ll show us their studio and the stuff that they have for sale?'”
Mabry van Dieren said a lot of the makers are being hit hard by the COVD-19 pandemic, and some may be considering applying for a SBA loan.
“That is a big thing we’re discussing on our — we have some maker pages that we all talk back and forth,” Mabry van Dieren said. “We’re all trying to navigate those waters together and figure out what everything means.”
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Small Business Administration loan applications skyrocketed in March.
Dawn Cramer, a financial advisor with Cramer Capitol Management, said many of her business clients are struggling with what to do and have applied for loans.
Cramer said when applying for government loans or through a large bank, they can find themselves lost on a waiting list.
“It’s crazy. It’s really alarming,” Cramer said. “It’s one of those things that I think everybody just needs to be patient. I think if you deal with a small local bank. Your chances of getting through a little quicker.”
She said the best thing you can do is be patient because sources like the SBA are overwhelmed.
“Staying on top of it. Contacting your bankers. Making sure they’ve got confirmation numbers on everything, and just being patient is really the big thing,” Cramer said.
Cramer said thinking of ways for business owners to do something different, like Mabry van Dieren, will help them get through this health crisis.
“I think it’s genius. I think it’s a time where we all have to think outside of the box,” Cramer said. ‘We can be victims of what’s happening, or victors and look out there and try and see what we can do different.”
She said the market is still strong, and when people can, they’ll go back to making money and spending it like they did before.
Until then, Mabry van Dieren will keep swinging for small businesses on Facebook Live. She said when they’re all back together, it will be a celebration.
“It’s going to be the best because it is such a wonderful community,” Mabry van Dieren said. “Everyone who comes and attends the Swing wants to support the arts, and then having us all together — there’s supposed to be 149 of us that are supposed to be in the Spring Swing, so having that group together again is going to be so fun!”
And for those looking, several makers listed on ShopLocalKC.com make hand sanitizer as well.