LENT Covid19 Shut Down Micro Loans

Image Credit: The late Denis Hill. Purchases of this photo benefit the Island County Historical Society Archives and Museum. Purchase this photo

Update July 2021 – Micro Loans are still available for businesses who’ve identified a vital need for help after a over a year of losses.

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’s, subsequent restrictions and Island County uptick in cases (July 2021) we’ve heard from many people (on phone, email, or text) 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 up and down, insecure times. What if we shut down again?” or “How can I help our local businesses survive. If this uptick keeps up they could really be doomed…” Not to mention a small business owner saying “I am not sure my business can survive this… Scared for the fall and winter” and one who’s sadly closed entirely at the first – hopefully only – shut down

Saying we’re worried too, is an understatement! Coupeville business owners and their staff are our family, friends and neighbors. It’s that small town benefit of knowing everyone that drives us to care and help. 

The Coupeville Historic Waterfront board identified up to $20,000 to provide 0 to low interest micro-loans to most affected Coupeville businesses.

$20,000 is not a lot of money to help mitigate covid19 damage for some of our 40+ business members along the historic waterfront. With that in mind we are asking the public to help generate more loans than we could alone provide.

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 the financial fallout of covid19, and unforeseen restrictions 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.

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 MICRO LOAN 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. 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. – Note: 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. They are small loans. 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 our budget 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 in an emergency situation. 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 the sustainability of a small business along the historic waterfront.  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 economic sustainability along the historic waterfront.

Q: “Since the Historic Waterfront Assoc. receives the money I’ve donated, 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 we are able to offer immediate and timely support, and possibly mitigate further damage to a business, building, or our economy (tax base). 

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

YES, I 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 Rainy Simpson

NOTE: Founding Executive Director Vickie Chambers retired in July 2021. She continues to be available for the transition and will assist in programs and events for the foreseeable future. Vickie’s retirement does NOT change our programs. We will continue as we have in the past, meeting our mission and supporting our historic waterfront district. We welcome our new Executive Director Rainy Simpson with excitement for the future.