GROW Loan Allows Urban Apparel to Re-Open

As we continue to face the aftereffects of the Coronavirus, businesses and entrepreneurs have taken a specific kind of hit. Although most of us could have never imagined we’d be in the throes of a worldwide pandemic, it has forced many of us to reevaluate our current circumstances. For Thomas Smith, Jr. of Urban Apparel, he needed GROW’s assistance and guidance as he looked at future of his business. That’s where our Recovery and Working Capital Loans come in.

About Urban Apparel

Urban Apparel is a retail men’s clothing and accessories store that’s been in the heart of Muskegon Heights for five years. Their mission is to offer fine quality menswear at affordable prices. They strive to provide the best service for their customers while being active in the community and helping to promote other small businesses. As a minority-owned business with strong ties to the community, the GROW Loan was a great fit.

Since the Governor’s Executive Order to shut down all non-essential businesses, Urban Apparel, like many stores, was force to close its doors to the public. With no capacity for online sales, delivery, or pick-up, the loss of revenue was unavoidable. Unlike many other businesses, a pivot was not feasible at the time. In addition, both Thomas and his only other employee have been unemployed since the start of the shutdown.

Rent, Utilities, Insurance & Operational Costs Continued

With the GROW loan, Urban Apparel was able to cover expenses that did not stop for a Pandemic including rent, utilities, insurance, accounts payable, and order items. With no revenue since March 23, Urban Apparel was able to have some breathing room until they were able to reopen their doors on June 15. Since re-opening, Thomas has stated that the community was thrilled to see then open their doors and the first two weeks, he saw a large uptick in business. “The community has been very supportive and being re-open has been a pleasant experience for us so far.” Thomas said.

As for his experience with GROW, Thomas says, “GROW is encouraging and offers a wide variety of services. They have been the best experience for me. They provide more than just the ability to obtain money. They have helped me connect with other resources that have helped with e-commerce and marketing. It’s not something you get from a bank. Karen (Benson), my Business Development Officer through GROW, even stopped by my store to check in and it really warmed my heart. I would recommend (GROW) to anyone.”

As far as what lies ahead for Urban Apparel, the store has continued to operate with slightly reduced hours. They are looking to also add an online store and pickup/delivery options. Thomas is currently working with the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and the Christian Member Directory, along with the Muskegon Heights Business Association to make sure that they are prepared for whatever comes next. You can stay up-to-date on Urban Apparel’s events and specials by following their social media platforms. Look for sidewalk sales, an online store, and a preferred customer program soon!

We’re Here For You, No Matter Where You Are In Your Business Journey

Over the last several months we have talked to hundreds of small, locally owned businesses. We understand that all businesses and entrepreneur’s situations are different, which is why our staff works to make sure that we can provide guidance and support based on those needs. Whether it’s loans, help managing cash flow, or other assistance. We are so grateful to be able to help Thomas and Urban Apparel as they work through this pandemic and move forward on their path to recovery.