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Show your love for Coupeville Small Businesses 

Image Credit: The late Denis Hill. We felt this photo was perfect for this particular message and announcement from our Executive Director. It’s perfect because we know Denis would have been full of help, and ideas to help, all during and after this covid19 crisis. Denis deeply loved Coupeville. He was a dear friend, a fierce and trustworthy helper and a founding member of CHWA. We miss him. The photo is now registered to his estate.

A message and program announcement from our

Executive Director Vickie Chambers

Sometimes it just takes a little help from our friends to turn common concerns into helpful ideas of reality. 

During the mandatory covid19 shut-down we’ve heard from many people (on phone, email, or text of course) expressing worries for historic waterfront small businesses, owners and staff. We can’t count the number of times we’ve heard “How can small businesses survive this?” or “How can I help our local businesses survive…” Not to mention a small business owner saying “I am not sure my business can survive this…” and one who’s sadly closed entirely (Lower Loft Eatery).

Saying we’re worried too, is an understatement! Coupeville business owners are our friends. Their staff are our friends. It’s that small town benefit of knowing everyone enough to care. 

My board and I have discussed how we can offer vital and immediate financial help, and we’ve come up with something we believe will. It’s a kind of relief and we hope you’ll help us maximize the commitment.

From our budget we can afford to commit up to $20,000 to provide 0 to low interest micro-loans to most affected Coupeville businesses and match YOUR investment into helping them too.

WE will begin using the our $20,000 seed money for micro-loans and matching investments immediately

With 75% of historic waterfront businesses closed (making no income but still strapped with rent and other bills) $20,000 is not a lot of money to help mitigate covid19 damage for  businesses. With that in mind we are asking you to help generate more loans than we could alone.

Light at the End of the Tunnel – LENT

We’re calling these loans LENT (Light at the end of the Tunnel) micro-loans. These loans will start as 0% interest loans (with interest to be slowly added based on loan repayment schedule). 

Along with our Facade Grant program, the LENT micro-loan program can help insure our friends and neighbors who own businesses (in an area that provides a bulk of Coupeville’s economic vitality and sustainability) can face fallout of covid19t, and unforeseen crisis’s in the future.

Citizen Investment is Needed in Coupeville

We hope you’ll see the benefit of the LENT Micro-Loan Program and will join us in investing in Coupeville. Together we’ll be investing in Coupeville’s long run during covid crisis and beyond. Please read the frequently asked questions for more details.

With hope for Coupeville I thank you.

Sincerely,

Vicky

IMPORTANT – FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: I don’t make donations online. How can I give without giving my credit card online?

A: You can mail a check. The check would be made out to Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association. Put LENT in the memo and mail to: Coupeville Historic Waterfront – P.O. Box 121, Coupeville, WA 98239. 

Q: How are you, what guidelines do you have, for reviewing the applications. Some businesses can still make sales, others cannot. How do we gauge the hardship? Our local businesses and (current) resources for owners are all so different. 

A: All applications will be reviewed by the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association (CHWA) LENT Panel. This panel consists of Coupeville resident’s and business owners. People who are Coupeville knowledgeable and have the ability to review and make funding recommendations. Those recommendations will be presented to the CHWA Board of Directors for final approval. – The CHWA Board of Directors is, likewise, made up of long time Coupeville business owners and residents. 

Q: WHO is eligible for these loans? There’s so many small businesses in Coupeville.

A: Business owners within our historic catchment as designated by the Washington Main Street Program (a division of the Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation). Find out more about our Main Street status and see catchement map.

Q: Can ‘investors’ see the application the business owner’s will use to apply.

A: Yes – LENT – Micro-Loan – Application

Q:  What if a business was able to qualify for the state or federal loans? OR has enough money in the bank to weather this storm. How do you know people won’t double dip?

A: We are in a unique position of knowing our membership very well.  We work side by side and know them as businesses owners, residents in our community and friends. We trust they will ask for what they need, when they truly need it, and will be in a position to pay the funds back.

Q: Isn’t this just strapping a business owner with more debt?

A: The CHWA LENT loans are intended to alleviate stress not create it.  They are not in the 10’s of 1000’s of dollars. We took this into account and believe applicants (our members) know their business and their limits and will be able to use the loan not be buried by it.

Q: “So MY donation, or investment, goes back to the Historic Waterfront after the small business owner pays the LENT loan back? Over recouping your $20,000 investment what will the Historic Waterfront DO with the amount that came from me and other ‘investors’?

A: The $20,000 from CHWA plus all investments from the public will be funneled back to the LENT Micro-loan program to be used as a low-interest tool to offset some of the financial impacts businesses in the district might endure during emergency situations.  This program will be maintained as a restricted account and all funds will be recirculated as part of future LENT micro-loans.

Q: What other kinds of emergency’s could there be? This covid19 crisis is unheard of.

A: Yes, this is unheard of. Sadly king-tides, storms, flood, fire, owner illness/accident, earthquakes, can all result in financial emergencies that could, if not addressed, affect someone’s livelihood (and that of their employee’s should they have any) and our town, both in spirit and economic sustainability. Loss of business, vacancy’s and damaged buildings lead to economic slumps in any historic town. It’s vital, and part of our mission to help insure sustainability along the historic waterfront.

Q: If YOU get the money, I gave, over YOUR $20,000 initial investment, why wouldn’t I just give it to the business owner directly?

A: You are certainly welcome to invest in any business directly, but the intent of the LENT program is to maximize funding investments and options and make available immediate assistance for those in need of emergency financial help. Emergency’s vary and business needs vary in both funding and timing. By keeping the LENT micro-loan program funded (in the bank) we are able to offer immediate and timely support, and possibly mitigate further damage to a business, building, or our economy (tax base). 

Q: Shouldn’t a business that might be forced to close all together get the first right to the loans? Some have been able to stay open and a couple are doing pretty well from what I can see? Still making sales.

A: All businesses in our district dealt with difficult choices over the covid19 closures. Some have the ability to offer products and services based on the definition of “essential business” set by the state of Washington. Some are forced to close all together.  We do have one business that has chosen to permanently close (The Lower Loft Eatery) through this covid19 crisis. As heartbreaking as it is we respect that choice. But precisely because every business and business owner is unique in what they are able to endure, we trust the LENT Panel to determine need, urgency and priorities. And we trust our business owning neighbors (our members) who will be applying. We believe they will be honest and frank with their needs and only apply if they truly need  assistance.

We hope that answers YOUR questions as potential investors in the LENT micro-loan program in Coupeville.

I’ve read Vicky’s letter and the frequently asked questions and want to invest in Coupeville

Please share this opportunity with your family and friends and help us kick off the LENT micro-loan program with a bang. 

Those with more questions PLEASE fill out this form. The form will send an email directly to our Executive Director Vicky Chambers.