Portland’s bicycle industry has received $ 4.7 million in pandemic relief loans
“The loan helped offset all that red ink that we generated during the downturn months and kept us going. “
– Kyle Ranson, Shower Pass
In late March, as the full extent of the Covid-19 pandemic became clear and a shutdown pulled everyone off the streets, things looked bleak for Portland’s beloved bike shops and others. bicycle-related businesses and non-profit organizations.
Months before the bicycle boom kicked in and allayed our concerns, local bicycle business owners lined up for federal Covid-19 relief loans to help payroll, purchase equipment for s ‘adapt to new ways of doing business and hopefully keep their doors open. We now have a clearer idea of who got what with regard to the two biggest sources of small business association bailouts: the Paycheque Protection Program and Economic disaster loans.
After demands for transparency from the media and other groups, the SBA has just published a new research tool which has loan amounts for 5.16 million beneficiaries of the nearly $ 523 billion that have been distributed. I searched for local bicycle companies and found a list of 42 Portland-based businesses that have borrowed a total of $ 4,801,323 (if you know of one that I missed, please let me know so that the list is as complete as possible).
I have divided the recipients into four categories: bike shop, non-profit, products / services, and manufacturing / builder. Here are the total loans and amounts for each category:
- Bike store: 24 loans – $ 2,687,535
- Manufacturing / builder: 5 loans – $ 993,686
- Non-profit: 5 loans – $ 463,279
- Products / services: 8 loans – $ 709,723
The size and terms of the loans vary. Data in this story includes PPP and EIDL funds. If businesses can prove that jobs have been saved, they won’t have to pay back the loans. For loans that are not repayable, they come with low interest rates and have a term of 30 years.
There was a wide variety of bike store loans: seven loans were over $ 100,000; seven were between $ 20,000 and $ 62,000; and 10 were less than $ 18,000. Bike Gallery, a chain with six stores in the area and three in Portland, received $ 714,738. Velotech Inc., an e-commerce company that operates BikeTiresDirect.com, WesternBikeworks.com and other websites, received $ 506,000. On the other end of the spectrum, Metropolis Cycle Repair in north Portland received just $ 6,000.
Component maker King Cycle Group (Chris King Precision Components) received $ 717,900, the largest loan from any local bicycle company. Their request indicated that the loan supported at least 70 jobs.
Bicycle-related non-profit organizations have also come into law. The Community Cycling Center received $ 271,000, The Street Trust took in $ 134,371 and the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) received $ 29,703. OBRA was hit particularly hard by the virus since the racing season had only a few events. (Note: I put the nonprofit Community Cycling Center under the bike shops category, as they also run a retail store.)
“Everyone still had to make sacrifices, but it’s much more bearable because of the loan.”
– Jonnie Ling, Community Cycling Center
Joe Bike owner Joe Doebele said his $ 50,500 loan helped him pay for personal protective equipment (PPE), an air purifier and other equipment needed to operate outdoors . “Since we stopped allowing customers in the store in March, this has helped us restructure our department and sales areas both to better space our employees and to better serve customers outside”, he shared in an email today. “It has had short and long term benefits, and those benefits are ongoing,” Doebele added.
Showers Pass CEO Kyle Ranson said he used every penny of their $ 342,300 loan to pay staff. “When our revenues evaporated, we made the decision not to fire anyone, hoping things would pick up in the fourth quarter,” he said in an interview today. “The PPP loan helped offset all that red ink that we generated during the downturn months and kept us going.”
With all their summer camps canceled and a sharp drop in retail store revenues, Community Cycling Center Acting Executive Director Jonnie Ling told me this afternoon their PPP loan: “Felt like our last hope. avoid major layoffs. »The CCC pivoted to food delivery in April and managed to keep all the staff on board. “Everyone still had to make sacrifices,” Ling said, “But it’s much more bearable because of the loan.”
OBRA executive director Chuck Kenlan said the loan helped them put themselves in a “strong financial position as we enter 2021”. While OBRA’s loan has already been canceled, Ling along with CCC says their cancellation process is just beginning. “We hope it goes without a hitch,” Ling shared.
The cycling industry in general has had a crazy year (to say the least). While the “bike boom” makes headlines and reports, inventory is still hard to come by. Stores focus on service and repairs while waiting for full delivery of bikes and building every frame in sight to meet demand. News from bicycle retailers and industry reported a 19% increase in bicycle imports since the start of the year compared to 2019.
While it looks like a big blow to our local cycling economy will be avoided in large part with these loans, the impacts of Covid-19 will be felt for a very long time to come. Ling at the CCC said he hopes the loan program will be renewed in 2021. “There is still a lot of uncertainty.”
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– Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and [email protected]
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