MOORHEAD — Swing Barrel Brewing Company, which opened this summer, said government financial support has been hard to acquire.
"We've never known a normal day," co-owner Sean Syverson said. "We have no idea how the potential could be."
Syverson and John Kapla wanted to open Swing Barrel Brewing in March. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
They started doing off-sale and serving customers outside in May. The two said they had a good summer as a business, and still have great community support. The same cannot be said about financial support from the government.
"They don't consider you because you have no prior record, even though our debt load is just enormous right now," Kapla explained.
Getting relief loans from the Small Business Association requires having financial records from the previous year. But Swing Barrel was still under construction in 2019. They have no previous financial record to compare.
Because of this, the system is rejecting Swing Barrel's relief application.
"Because it doesn't fit the original criteria the computer can approve a loan on, we have to wait until we can get it in front of an actual person," explained Swing Barrel's tax preparer, Devon Liljenquist with Arrow Advisors. "Actual people are in high demand at the SBA and are very difficult to get ahold of."
The two brewers believe it is especially important they get this benefit soon, since they are entering the non-patio season.
"We decided still not to have anybody in the taproom just because of high COVID-19 numbers, and Sean and I both have pre-existing conditions and try to do everything mostly ourselves," Kapla said.
"Man, a lot of headache goes away if we can get a little extra help from a program like that," Syverson added.
The two co-owners are sending a letter to the SBA, while trying to get in touch with a real person. They recommend business owners in the same boat stay persistent. Liljenquist urges they continue to check their email for anything from organizations they are applying to.
In its most recent report, the SBA gave loans to 13,719 Minnesota businesses — including several in Moorhead.