PORTLAND, Ore. — Two Portland-area businesses are still feeling the impact of the Federal Government shutdown last January but in different ways.
Jon Poteet was in the process of getting a federal Small Business Administration loan to build out his dream, Shine Distillery and Grill in North Portland.
The shutdown came at a terrible time for him: as the loan was being processed.
“The SBA wasn’t able to generate what they call a loan number. We were within hours of having that loan number generated. If we'd had that -- instead of a 45-day delay we could have kept on moving,” he said.
The SBA was not able to generate the number because it shut down with much of the rest of the federal government.
With the loan held up, Poteet could not pay the construction workers — so he and his friends got to work.
“ A friend of ours did all the cutting of the reclaimed lumber from out of the building — ran it through a band saw. Then my brother and AJ — the new bar manager helped put on and apply all those facades-- all of the tabletops were constructed out of reclaimed lumber from the building that had had a fire,” he said.
The result — a distillery and grill that can hold a couple hundred people — but it opened two months later than planned because of that government shutdown.
Another business that felt the impact is the little cafe inside the Edith Greene federal building in downtown Portland.
It's owned by Celyn Richards who is legally blind.
We visited her during the shutdown and she worried she'd lose the business because all the workers—her customers— were gone and told to stay home.
But she hung on just long enough to make it, said her mom.
“She had to watch her pennies for a little while. Of course, everybody did. And it was great. It didn’t matter. Everybody... it kinda pulled everybody together, said Juanita Richards.
She said publicity about Celyn's plight helped bring in even more customers once the workers returned.
“Awesome! They’ve just been great. It took a while to come back. But now we're back and people, they're so friendly and they're so nice and we're doing great!" she said.
Great enough that Celyn is able to take off on vacation, which is why we could not talk with her for this story.
And back at shine — the distillery and grill is beginning its second week of being open to the public. It’s been a struggle for the owner but worth it.
“It’s the dream come true. It’s absolutely a dream come true. It’s a beautiful facility,” said Jon Poteet.