North Coast SBDC

Six Rivers Brewery

“The SDBC has been incredibly helpful in providing information and support throughout the last 16 years, [and] has been invaluable during Covid shutdown with HR, compliance, and securing a PPP loan.”

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A woman-owned craft brewery harnessed support from their local SBDC to manage innumerable COVID-related staffing and HR challenges which allowed them to retain 40% of their staff and secure emergency funding to keep their doors open. 

Six Rivers Brewery, “The Brew with a View,” is a small batch, craft beer pub and full service restaurant located in Mckinleyville, CA. Since 2004 they have drawn a loyal following from residents of their expanding unincorporated town and those beyond who drive from the surrounding area to pack the space every evening and weekend.

Since buying the business in 2003, Co-founders Meredith and Talia have sought the advising of the North Coast SBDC. In 2020 they faced extraordinary COVID-19 related challenges ranging from securing emergency loans, managing employee layoffs, employee returns, safety, setting up pandemic-safe restaurant operations, and navigating public communications and marketing during the fraught time.

Over the years the SBDC has supported Meredith and Talia as they secured purchase and expansion loans, enacted bookkeeping improvements, increased both bottling and restaurant sales, and grew their employee base. Through the chaos of COVID-19 they leveraged those prior years’ lessons and support from the SBDC’s COVID Services Triage Consulting Team to complete loan applications and incorporate loans into their financial projections. One of the SBDC HR specialists worked with the client on COVID-related employment regulations, employee relationships and job retention. Co-owner Meredith chose to help the SBDC convene local food service businesses for a “Restaurants Reopening with Care” briefing and brainstorming workshop involving County emergency response staff and a HR specialist.

In 2020, the client secured a $25,000 local emergency bridge loan and later a $252,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan. From a previous staffing peak of 47, to date, 19 employees have been supported to return to work. It is only thanks to the client’s extraordinary and effective marketing of the restaurant side that sales are at 50% of normal despite the pandemic, given that 80% of pre-pandemic sales comprised draft beer distribution to other bars and restaurants.

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