Coaching Clients to Loan Readiness

Black- and Woman-owned business

16 Jobs created or retained

Business in a high-poverty area

$100,000 owner equity leveraged

Our stories tend to focus on the loan and what that loan enables, whether it’s a community center, a retail shop, or a construction project. For business owners, however, it’s often a lot of work to successfully apply for and receive a loan. This is especially true as many of the clients we serve are unable to qualify for bank financing and may need to do additional work to demonstrate loan readiness.

When Mike White stumbled upon the opportunity to purchase White’s Restaurant (no relation) in Salem, Oregon his loan applications were declined by banks. While Mike’s Restaurant has been serving hash browns and other diner staples since 1936, Mike White first visited in spring 2023 with his friend who is a regular. His friend joked that Mike should purchase the diner and soon he was chatting and exchanging phone numbers with Scott Casterline, then the owner of the restaurant, who promised to get in touch if he was ever interested in selling.

That summer Scott called Mike and they began discussing the future of White’s Restaurant. Scott was interested in selling to an owner who would keep the restaurant more or less the same. That fit with Mike’s vision and his experience made him a good match. Founder and owner of Best Damn BBQ Sauce, Mike has also worked in restaurants and as a barbeque chef. After Mike was told no by banks, he reconnected with Jon Bebe, a Craft3 Business Services Coach who he had known for many years.    

Jon was excited to help Mike first determine whether debt financing made sense for him and his business. It did and Jon and Mike got to work on refining his business plan and on projections for the restaurant. Jon explains, “Coaching of this sort focuses on helping business owners navigate small business lending, empowering them with useful tools, and engaging them in action steps to help put them in the best possible position to succeed.” For example, Jon helped Mike learn more about how to create projections and how projections are not just a hoop you need to jump through for a lender, but also an incredibly powerful tool to help you plan and run your business.

The deal meant a lot to Mike and his family as it offered the potential to build generation wealth and make an impact in Salem. Entrepreneurs of color, like Mike, are underrepresented in Salem. As a Mid-Valley Venture Catalyst at the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and the founder of the Mid-Valley Angel group, Mike is well connected in entrepreneurial communities and driven to give back and serve.

We’re hopeful that this one loan will provide positive impacts for years to come. And without Business Services Coaching, this loan wouldn’t have been possible.