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Stone Brewing – Escondido, California

Stone Brewing Co. CEO and co-founder Greg Koch on his experience with the SBA 504 loan…

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Q: Why did you choose the SBA 504 loan?

A: I have my business, I want to expand. There’s things that I want to accomplish…how do I do it? And you start looking around and seeing what the possibilities are. The great thing about the SBA 504 program was that it made financing available to us that wasn’t available to us elsewhere.

Q: How was your business changed?

A: And therefore it allowed us to do what we do best, which is the business of brewing great beer, of opening our restaurant that we’re sitting out in the gardens of. Come visit, by the way when you get a chance.

And it’s up to us to run our business, to steward it, to do the things that we know are right within the world of craft brewing — that’s our job. And the SBA 504 freed us up to do that job, to focus where we need to focus.

Q: What was the process like?

A: So, I once had a friend and he told me that the best day of his business life was the day that he paid off his SBA loan. Add on to that, he just told tales of woe about how difficult the process was, how much monitoring had to be done, the paperwork, just the upkeep was intense. So he was so glad to get rid of it. Well, it’s not been our experience with the SBA 504.

The paperwork burden was quite reasonable what you would expect from any bank loan. And the reporting that we have to do also as much or even less than what we would expect from a typical bank loan. It’s just been a great process.

We’re not looking forward to paying this loan off at all. In fact and I’ll tell you from the angle is that the interest rate is great. So, you want to give me money that we need to grow and build our business and a great interest rate to boot? Count me in.

Q: Would you do it again?

A: Would I apply for an SBA 504 loan? Yeah, look at my body language here. Come on. This is a guy who’s happy with his loan, relaxed and well, okay that’s in front of the camera. I got stuff to do today as a matter of fact but you know things are things are good, business is good. This recession thing I’ve heard about it; I read it in the newspaper headlines. Without that I don’t think I’d know.

So, you know, but that’s also because there’s a lot of people out there with great taste. They like to buy our beer. Maybe you’re one of them. If you’re not, you might want to say, “Why am I one of those people without great taste?” Don’t know, just my own look in the mirror, figure that out, decide for yourself where you stand, and whether or not you’re worthy for an SBA 504 loan.

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