GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Nicolet Bank starts micro grant program to help small business customers through pandemic

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A small business owner in downtown Green Bay went to his bank looking for a loan and a few days later learned he was awarded a grant. Here’s more on the micro-grant program in operation at Nicolet Bank.

With COVID-19 sweeping the nation, small businesses like the House of Homebrew, have had to adapt. For Doug Feck, that means finding new ways to sell the equipment and ingredients he stocks to make beer, wine, and cider.

“We pivoted really quickly to allow our customers to order either by email or the website or by phone,” said Feck, co-owner of House of Homebrew.

With five employees, Feck and his business partner made a decision to keep them on. But to do that, they’d need to secure additional funding. So he filled out an application for the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, seeking around $6,000, and submitted it to his lender – Nicolet Bank.

“In hopes we could keep our employees on and continue to operate without shutting down completely,” Feck said.

But a few days later, Nicolet called Feck and said instead of a loan they were going to give him a roughly $5,000 grant.

“It was a godsend for our business, we were just humbled and amazed and very thankful,” Feck said.

“We decided ‘Why not just put together a micro-grant program for our small business customers, to give them the money a lot faster’ and it’s working,” said Mike Daniels from Nicolet Bank.

The bank’s president and CEO says the program is designed to get money quickly into the hands of small business owners.

“There are no strings attached, it doesn’t have to be repaid,” Daniels said.

So far $232,000 in micro grants have been awarded, capped at $5,000 each.

“No monitoring, no reporting, get the money into your account and get you focused on what you need to do. Which is opening your business, paying your people and trying to survive these turbulent times,” said Daniels.

“I was so shocked and humbled, but it doesn’t surprise me – that’s just the nature of Nicolet Bank,” Feck said.

And with their help, House of Homebrew stays in operation. Daniels says his bank is only doing what it must right now, which is addressing the needs of bank customers.

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