Case Studies

How a San Francisco Restaurateur Turned to Fundbox for Relief Funding

By Greg Powell

When Coronavirus hit and governments across the U.S. issued shelter-in-place orders, restaurateur Laurie Thomas knew her businesses would suffer. She was happy when the federal government launched the Paycheck Protection Program because she assumed her business would qualify, which would give her some runway to pay employees, rent, and utilities.  

When she applied, she turned first to the bank she’s used for business and personal accounts for over ten years. They told her they couldn’t help, due to the structure of her company. They wanted to tie her application to her social security number (SSN), but she owns multiple businesses — Rose’s Cafe and Terzo, both restaurants in San Francisco — so a SSN wouldn’t work because the SBA limited one loan per Tax ID. To complicate things, her oldest restaurant had gone through several investor changes. One investor, now being a corporation, owned more than 20%. These other applications didn’t allow for the ability to clarify the more complicated partnership structure or enter her multiple EINs (rather than an SSN) to complete the application for each business. That’s when she heard about Fundbox.

Before learning that other lenders couldn’t help her, Laurie had already decided to take a road trip with her husband to visit her mother who was battling cancer in northern Wisconsin. It was in the back of her van that she started the Fundbox’s PPP application. She was in Minnesota, crossing into South Dakota, using her laptop to pull up files from and uploading them into Fundbox’s PPP application, all using iPhone as the Hotspot.

“The Fundbox application was by far the most comprehensive. It was super clear what was needed, it allowed for my somewhat unusual incorporation type, and was easy to navigate,” Thomas said. “And as time was of essence, and my business and 42 jobs were on the line, I was pretty stressed out.”

By the time the couple reached their campsite later the same day she had started the application, she heard from Fundbox that her application was approved. “I can’t tell you what a relief it was to hear that news after so many bad experiences. My husband and I slept well that night.”

 The money was deposited into her account within the next few days and she’s been using it to run Rose’s Cafe for outdoor dining, while she plans Terzo’s reopening.

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