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Customizing Cabinet Finishes Using Consistent Controls and Consumables

9. July 2020 12:03

Using color process controls, even custom cabinet doors can move through finishing profitably at Out of the Woods. 

Provided by Sherwin-Williams

Out of the Woods, a Layton, UT cabinet manufacturer, was founded on a strong commitment to exceptional service and high-quality products. It specializes in traditional, ornate and decorative pieces that transform kitchens, bathrooms, offices, laundry rooms and entertainment rooms. 

Recognizing the opportunity to establish itself as a full solutions provider to its customers, Out of the Woods acquired a granite countertop business, which helped them further differentiate in the industry. The ability to purchase cabinet and countertop components in one place benefits the company’s customer base, which includes builders, contractors, homeowners, remodelers and restoration companies.

Its latest step in advancing its products and services was to adopt finishing chemistries and controls from an industry-leading coatings supplier that shares this core value.  

“When customers come to us, they’re looking for a better-quality product,” said Tim Bryant (right) , Cabinet Operations Manager at Out of the Woods. “We have a good reputation in our community, which sets us apart from our competition and drives people into our shop.”

Out of the Woods receives raw lumber, mills it to a customer’s needs and then builds everything onsite, from drawer boxes to base frames. They manufacture and produce all of their products in-house with the help of woodworking specialists, and high-performance coatings from Sherwin-Williams.

“We take pride in our ability to do everything we can ourselves because we can control the quality, look and style of our cabinets from every aspect,” said Matt Peterson, Director of Operations at Out of the Woods.

Sherwin-Williams supplies all the paint, conversion varnishes, primers and stains for Out of the Woods, which has made a difference when it comes to product quality, color options and process efficiencies.

“Right now, our finishes are the best they’ve been since I started working here,” said Bryant. “Our finish knowledge has increased dramatically since we started working with Sherwin-Williams." Out of the Woods understands that in customer purchase decisions, while the quality of a cabinet is important, color is also a key factor. As part of the its customer service offering, their design specialists provide insight on what wood finishes will complement flooring or interior paint colors in a client’s home. 

Out of the Woods will also help customers narrow down color schemes if they are unsure where to start. “Color is an important part of the process because some customers come in with a specific vision of what they want,” said Mark Moeller (right), Director of Sales and Marketing at Out of the Woods. “If someone is adamant about a color, and you can’t match it, then they’ll keep looking until they find a company who can.”

Understanding that color options for the wood manufacturing business is critical, Sherwin-Williams sales representative, Jackson McNeil, set up Out of the Woods with the Sherwin-Williams Color Express™ system. Color Express delivers repeatable and accurate colors on demand with automated onsite dispensing, offering easy access to thousands of colors from the Sherwin-Williams Color Snap® fandeck. 

Color Express and the use of SHER-WOOD® HB Conversion Varnish allowed Out of the Woods to greatly expand their custom color offering with ease, while also helping them increase speed of production and elevate the quality of their products. “From an operations standpoint, it’s been fantastic,” said Peterson. “And with its coating consistency, Color Express also removes the uncertainty of batch-to-batch color matching.”

The company showcases its standard paint and stain colors in their showroom, and also provides access to the full Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap designer library for custom color selection at an upcharge. 

“Delivering a nearly endless selection of color options makes a big difference in getting a client’s business or not,” said Moeller. “If customers don’t find what they want in our standard colors, then they have the option to choose from the Color Express selection.”

Out of the Woods knows consumers are doing their research online before coming into their showroom to make a selection, which is why the company will be launching a new color visualizer tool this year. Sherwin-Williams Color Express™ Color Visualizer is an online inspiration tool that will showcase Out of the Woods’ full product portfolio and Sherwin-Williams color options. Consumers can choose from different cabinet styles and colors to envision how the products will look in their home.

With the Visualizer program, Out of the Woods will be able to integrate new features and capabilities in its showroom and on its website. The tool will also streamline the sales process by giving customers a better idea of what Out of the Woods cabinets would look like in their home.

The service Sherwin-Williams supplies to Out of the Woods does not stop at high-quality coatings and a wide variety of color options. McNeil and Sherwin-Williams technical service representative, Michael Smith, also help provide other equipment and supplies, including spray guns, sandpaper, booth filters, flatline filters and flatline paper to assist in the cabinet manufacturer’s application process.

In fact, the relationship between Sherwin-Williams and Out of the Woods stemmed from a partnership with an associated products vendor who helped supply Out of the Woods with paint booth equipment. From there, McNeil spoke to Out of the Woods about its product finishes, which led to Sherwin-Williams becoming the company’s sole coatings supplier.

When Out of the Woods experienced issues with its in-line spray system, Smith helped supply the company with new spray guns. The new equipment helped the cabinet manufacturer save product and increase efficiency for its stain application process. Instead of requiring two to three people to operate the stain spray booth, Out of the Woods only needs one person at most times.

“Both Smith and McNeil have been a huge help in increasing efficiencies with our in-line system and in our spray booth with our stains,” said Bryant. “They’ve contributed a lot in getting our finishing situation in the shape it is today, and we are grateful for that.”

Both Sherwin-Williams and Out of the Woods prioritize delivering dedicated customer service. That shared understanding strengthens the working relationship between the two companies. From coatings and colors to spray equipment and technology, Sherwin-Williams delivers a full range of services to support its cabinetry customer. As a result, Out of the Woods can turn around and offer its own customers an enhanced experience with high-performance finishes, nearly limitless color options and innovative technology.

“The service Sherwin-Williams gives us is a level of service we definitely didn’t have with our previous suppliers,” said Bryant. “They’ve been there when we need them, have helped us work through difficult situations and solve problems. For us, that goes a long way.”  https://ootwc.com/ 

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The Workplace Redefined: HON's Guidance to Business Furniture Clients

4. July 2020 21:21

 

HON office panels are available in cleanable vinyl or laminates to help prevent the spread of germs in individual workstations.
Glass stack-ons can be added to increase height, while still letting in natural light.

When businesses saw signs of a flattening curve emerging in the COVID-19 pandemic, they began looking to plan for two possibilities: a continued period during which employees would be working from home; or a health-conscious return to the workplace. The HON Company, the largest unit of commercial furniture giant HNI, shares its insights into likely strategies for supporting both developments among its clients. 

How to Plan for a Health-Conscious Return to Work

Work-from-home arrangements were made almost overnight as the pandemic forced the implementation of stay-home orders. While the transition was sudden, American businesses and workers have risen to the occasion. From a trying situation has come a revelation in the way we work, and how it might look going forward.

When signs of a curve flattening in many states emerged, elected officials began rolling out plans to get employees back to work – or simply back to the office. 

Preparing for a New Normal

While we don't know for certain what work and office environments will look like in three weeks or three months, we do know they will look different. And the new dynamic could feature more permanent changes designed to support health and well-being of employees. Experts agree that making employees feel safe and comfortable about being in the office should be at the forefront of every decision-maker's mind as workers across the country get ready to return.

"The biggest thing that companies are focusing on is the mental and physical well-being of their workers," said Holli Renaud, Account Merchandising Manager for The HON Company. "Employees need to mentally feel good about coming into the office, and that translates into some of the physical things companies are doing to promote that comfortability."

"It's going to be about space, cleaning and separation between workstations and in common areas, too. That's how a lot of people are thinking about this situation as they prepare for this change." The changes required won't all be easy, though.

Finding a happy medium between appropriate spacing and a people-focused environment is the task facing companies now. Companies may be trying to juggle the open workplace and collaborative areas with options that can be conducive to social distancing.

"How do we incorporate those elements into the working environment? How do we make sure we continue to build a workplace that people want to work in, while also being able to maintain social distancing? These are key considerations for companies as they look to reopen," said Jim Foster, Vice President & General Manager Merchandising & National Accounts at The HON Company.

Flexible Solutions for Every Home Office

The way you work is changing every day, and you're most likely still figuring out your perfect set up. Whether you have a dedicated room or share the space with the rest of the home, it's important that you have the right products that fit you and your home office needs.

Twitter employees are working from home as long as they choose, even permanently if they want. Google employees are remote until 2021, at least. Other tech companies are moving to remote work in the COVID-19 era and it's brought into focus some long-held principles about work.

Whether you have a designated office or share the space with the rest of the home, it's important that you have the right products that fit you and your home office needs.

The Small Home Office

You might not have space for a formal home office, but HON's multifunctional desks and ergonomically friendly seating are designed to fit in small spaces—and if you're cramped for space, you can stow your desk away when the work day is done.

For workers who want a productive space that can also multi-task after hours, "having a nesting table like the Between is helpful," said Evan Sanford, Category Merchandising Manager for The HON Company. "Also, the Coordinate desktop riser is great because it sits on top of an existing work surface."

Coordinate desktop risers allow you to stand or sit, offering ergonomic flexibility and comfort throughout the day. When working with a small footprint (like an apartment), it's important to utilize furniture that fits when you need the space to work, but doesn't get in the way when you need the space for something else.

The Shared-Room Home Office

As you continue exploring new workstyles in your own home, you may have found a nook that is just right. Those who are outfitting shared rooms look for style and function, and typically, they want the furniture to coordinate with their home environment (we call it "resimercial"). For a shared room, the fully-upholstered Matter chair is an excellent choice, providing comfort and a look that can blend into any space.

"When you walk into the room, you won't necessarily say 'that's an office chair,'" Sanford said. Another option in the shared-room category is the Voi work surface. Its contemporary and modern design gives off a minimalistic vibe, and it has various laminate top and paint options that fit many different aesthetics.

The Dedicated Home Office

A designated office space can be key to maximizing productivity. HON offers products for a traditional or modern office solution designed to ergonomically support you and fit the aesthetic of your home. These products are similar to what you might see in an office space.

For those with the space for a designated home office space, traditional or modern office solutions are designed to ergonomically support the workstation, and the aesthetic of the home.

"Some of our best options are the Coordinate height-adjustable tables. When we talk to people about what products they want, height adjustability is at the top of the list," Sanford said.

With the market shifting toward more workers being remote and/or working from home, a comfortable and ergonomic solution will make your home office more inviting, and you may find yourself more productive as well.

For more information, check out https://www.hon.com/industry/healthy-workplace-solutions

SOURCE: The HON Company

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Forced Curing of Wood Coatings

7. May 2020 10:15

By: Joe Baggett, Innovative Wood Process Solutions

It goes without saying that coatings perform best and achieve their peak performance when they are properly cured. Whether it's a cabinet, furniture item, panel or other products, if they are packaged and put in the field with improperly cured coatings, they are susceptible to moisture, chemical, scratch and mar damage.

Finish or coating failure many times is the result of improperly cured coatings. This is avoided, in traditional, non-UV coatings, by making sure your curing process is delivering something called "forced curing." You have probably heard the term, but it is often one of the most misunderstood parts of the wood finishing process. 

Forced curing is a function of the chemistry of the coating, and the interaction with the wood surface, and relies on reaching a target temperature – a dynamic interaction between the temperature of the wood surface and that of the coating being applied. 

Basic thermodynamics for curing wood coatings

Curing technology actually starts with the board surface temperature, before the coating is even applied. Then it must account for the temperature of the liquid coating as it is applied. The first curing step of the coating after it is applied depends on the solids content, resin, binders, and solvents that make up the coatings. Evacuation of solvent through forced air and heat in combination is the first step after the coating has been allowed to flow out.

Then depending on the chemistry, raising the board surface temperature to the optimum level in the optimal amount of time is the goal. This is where we see many times that the target board surface temperature – the point at which we reach cross-linking, snap curing, polymerization, and other critical chemical reactions – isn’t achieved. For UV coatings getting the solvent out to where the UV light can properly cerate monomer dispersion is critical. 

 

How to Properly Store Wide Sanding Belts To Avoid Damage

28. April 2020 11:00

 

By Curtis Hicks, Uneeda Corp.

 

Uneeda wanted to give everybody a little bit of education on how to store paper wide sanding belts. I'm actually going to show you some pictures that I recently took at a customer's place, and what you have here is a paper wide belt and as you can see, they have it sitting on the floor.

It's not a good way at all to store a wide belt, especially a paper one, because what happens is this paper basically acts like a sponge. What's going on here is this end of the wide belt is just sucking up water just like a sponge would.  It's going to definitely absorb more water than the other end of the belt will, so what will happen is when you put that belt on the machine, that side gets swollen, and it makes it more difficult for the belt to trap-to-track.

So, the next best solution is to hang your belts. Basically you use three or four inch PVC pipes. At this shop they built a hanging rack out of PVC. That's a much better situation. It gets the belt off the floor. This will definitely help your belts track better if you hang them this way before you put them on the machine.

You'll notice in the video, when the belts were first hung up, one wide belt was rubbing against another. That's another big problem with wide belts: you do not want grain rubbing against grain because what will happen is, you're likely to fracture some of that grain. And then you'll end up getting raised lines when you run the belt, because some of the grains would have broken off. 

The absolute most perfect way to store your wide belts is to hang them on a rack built out of PVC – three- or four-inch PVC – and what's really good about this approach is these PVC pipes are typically are about the size of your idler rollers.

Don't stand sanding belts on edge.
Uneeda is a sponsor of the IWF 2020 Finishing Symposium, August 26. 
Learn more and register>>

The very best way to store them is to go get some PVC - just cut some PVC pipe - and simply lay them inside the wide belt. It does not hurt the wide belts at all, and it has a lot of benefits. For instance, as you can see now, the grain on this belt is not touching the grain on that belt, and that's a great improvement. In the example in the video, these pipes were very freshly put in. But as the day goes on, these belts are really going to straighten out and conform to that PVC pipe, so that when you do pull the belt to put on the machine it slides in real easy.

I hope that's helpful. And if you ever need help, don't hesitate to reach out to Uneeda at Uneeda com. We're always there to help. 

SBA Paycheck Protection Loans Went Fast, But More Is On the Way

21. April 2020 09:43

By: Laurie Wolff, Certified Global Business Professional

Wow, that went fast. Some of you were able to obtain loans through the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loans, but many were not. Even though the funding levels were larger than anything the SBA has done before, the needs are significantly greater than the funding provided. The SBA has stopped accepting applications unless or until the government authorizes additional funding.

My best guess is that more will be authorized this week. We have already had more people file for unemployment claims than we have created jobs since the end of the Great Recession. Independent contractors and self-employed workers have not yet been able to file for benefits even though those were authorized under the federal stimulus programs. States literally have not had the capacity to process these claims, and as far as I can tell the first of these will start hitting the system next week so expect continued historically high numbers for jobless claims for at least the rest of this month as states play catch up.

Politicians will respond to this with more stimulus, so if you have applications that were pending and not approved, keep working with your bankers because if (when) more funding is authorized, it too will be dispersed quickly. Most state and loan programs were also quickly exhausted but keep in contact with local small business assistance centers and economic development offices in case additional resources become available.

I’ll blog about what the Federal Reserve is doing to stabilize lending and the financial system soon. Some of what they are doing directly benefits large businesses, but if the Fed is able to take the loans guaranteed through the SBA program off the books of banks, that gives banks more ability to lend. Stay in close contact with your lenders. Your bank has a vested interest in your ability to survive this crisis.

I have friends that got the loans and some that didn’t. They applied equally quickly and as far as I can tell were equally worthy. It doesn’t feel fair. I’m glad for those that did get the loans and for their workers. All I can do is encourage those that didn’t to keep at it.

I plan to talk with you about exporting when we meet in Atlanta at IWF, but in the meanwhile I’m happy to answer questions and make referrals to resources, whatever will help you move forward with your business.

Reach Laurie Wolff c/o IWFNetworkNews@iwfatlanta.com   

IWF Education - Top Five Reasons Lean Programs Fail

17. April 2020 14:09

The road to adopting Lean Manufacturing in a woodworking plant is not always smooth, but well worth the effort. At IWF 2020, a day-long symposium, Quantum Lean, will cover the fundamentals, and get you started toward continuous improvement and increased efficiency in your operation. In this video, presenters Lynn Thomson and Brad Cairns show why they are among IWF's most popular presenters. Learn more about the Quantum Lean Symposium and how to register below. 

By Brad Cairns Lynn Thomson

Quantum Lean is a full day Lean Symposium for people who are ready for change, who want more from their existing resources and who want to start the move to manufacturing excellence. The goal of this Symposium is to walk away with a clear direction and action plan to kick off your Lean Journey. Save thousands of dollars! We are going to give you all the tools you would get from one on one consulting, and then some!

Learn more and register for Quantum Lean, August 24 at IWF 2020.

We are going to unroll the “Lean Road Map” so you can not only see where you are at, but where you are going. The day will be jam packed with live flow simulations to see Lean in action. Ever thought: "I'm ready for this journey, but my people aren’t?" If this sounds familiar, fear not, we are covering people development as well. Despite what you may think, most people love Lean once they begin to understand it.

No stone will be left unturned, from setting up team leaders & lean coordinators, Gemba walks, study materials, mentorships & Lean tours. This will be a full emersion that you cannot miss. If you’re a numbers person and increasing your throughput by 30-50% interests you, don’t miss this opportunity to take a Quantum leap forward over your competition.

As a bonus to taking this symposium, we are going to take you on a tour to Japan without leaving the room! Show you what manufacturing excellence looks like. We are going to show you and teach you what we had the privilege of learning from our Japanese mentors. Valuable words from Ritsuo Shingo (Son of Shigeo Shingo, creator of theToyota production system), see a culture and a way of thinking that is bound to be transformational. Smart people can’t believe it’s this simple.

LEAN IS FOR EVERYONE. Whether you run a manufacturing company, a service operation or an office environment, the tools and techniques can be applied to every process. If you are an owner or manager of a company, and you’re looking for that competitive advantage that is not just a flash in the pan or a price war, Lean thinking is your ticket. It is not just for the automotive sector. Let us show you how these tools and techniques translate perfectly into any wood manufacturing operation. What is your strategic plan to stay ahead of the competition? Perhaps a little Lean thinking is just what your organization needs. Learn more and register 

Getting Business Finance and Help at Your Local Level

6. April 2020 10:38

By: Laurie Wolff, Certified Global Business Professional

So far in my blogs we’ve focused on small business resources available at the national level through the CARES stimulus package. Where else can you get help? Almost certainly your state has programs available to assist small business. Many states are offering zero interest or low interest loans to businesses that qualify. There are funding pools available in some metropolitan areas or parts of states.

For example, the state of Illinois has several programs for businesses, some limited to Chicago, some to outside the Chicago area. California has state wide programs, and specific areas such as Sacramento and San Francisco have their own programs.

I live in St. Louis and our local tech incubator, which does lots of small business development, is networking and sharing links for a variety of regional programs. Your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or economic development office will have the best information about programs available just for firms in your area as well as state wide or national programs.

If you haven’t made a relationship with them before, now is a good time to get networked with other businesses in your community. I’m sure District Export Councils and Chambers of Commerce are also trying to identify and share resources with their members. Local business communities and business assistance centers are pulling together to help get us through this pandemic induced economic crisis.

Private lenders, both traditional and the “fin tech” nontraditional lenders, are also offering help. Our new era of “fin tech” where nontraditional lenders and payment mechanisms have grown rapidly is both good and bad—there are new sources for funds and new abilities to move them rapidly, but there is also more possibilities for fraud and for nontraditional intermediaries to have liquidity issues. Exercise caution.

Do due diligence before you agree to anything. And, don’t forget that the government resources may be grants, which directly contribute to your bottom line, even if they might take longer to access.

I plan to talk with you about exporting when we meet in Atlanta at IWF 2020, but in the meanwhile I’m happy to answer questions and make referrals to resources, whatever will help you move forward with your business.

Reach Laurie Wolff c/o IWFNetworkNews@iwfatlanta.com

Herman Miller Poster Child: Resident Graphic Artist

5. April 2020 23:15

By Bill Esler, Editor, IWF Network News 

His posters for the annual Herman Miller company picnic have been accepted into the collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art. An intriguing snapshot of the work of graphic designer Steve Frykholm, who says life at Herman Miller really has been a picnic. Frykholm reflects on his 45+ year tenure at the company and revisits his first—and now canonical—assignment on the job. 

The New CARES Act Lets You Seek a Payroll Tax Credit of $5,000 Per Employee

4. April 2020 13:52

By: Laurie Wolff, Certified Global Business Professional

Is all well or at least okay with your business? In my last post, I described a payroll grant program that has just become available for businesses under pressure by the current health crisis. 

The Paycheck Protection Program offers small businesses loans that can be forgiven if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the loan is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utilities. The forgiven amount has to have at least 75 percent related to payroll expenses, but other expenses can be part of the loan package. 

If you qualify as a small business, you can get a government loan that becomes a grant based on maintaining your payroll. Even if times are still good, this will increase your bottom line and allow you to invest in future opportunities. If times are tough, this is a potential life line to hold out until we get through the pandemic induced shut downs.

If taking advantage of a loan turned grant from the SBA isn’t right for you, then consider a couple of other options created in the recent government stimulus package.

For example:

  • You are eligible for a payroll tax credit if you have maintained employment and don’t seek or obtain an SBA loan. The credit is equal to 50 percent of wages and includes qualified health expenses. This is up to $10,000 gross paid out for wages and health benefits per worker, so the credit would be $5,000 per worker.
  • You can claim the credit against quarterly payroll taxes or take advance payment of the tax credit if you need cash now. Please talk to your accountant and claim this tax credit if you are eligible.
  • You also can defer your portion of payroll taxes, which is 6.2 percent of payroll. It won’t in the end save you money, but it will improve your cash flow now. The repayment schedule is stretched out to 2021 and 2022.

I will address this theme in other blogs but I want to hit home with you that the firms that expand, that buy capital and invest in developing new customers and new markets in the down times are best situated to grow and gain market share in the next up cycle. If you are healthy now, please deploy resources so that you can thrive when we get through this pandemic.

Economic expansions do not die of old age, and our underlying economy is strong. We just lived through the longest expansion ever. Our underlying capacity is amazing. We got hit with a shock that for once is not really economic, not about liquidity or the financial system, or anything else that we usually would label as causing a recession.

We have a health crisis which is making all of us make different choices than we usually would make. We will have the worst numbers ever in jobless claims, unemployment and decreased production. It will be a sharp downward move and bad in most measurable ways.

But we are also doing the largest stimulus ever and have the best underlying productivity ever. Jobless claims are so high because the technology is there to immediately make them, and the funds are there to pay them. It will help stabilize spending.

I like to think of the really bad numbers as a really good sign that we are on top of this. Be strong and prosper. (My scify fandom is showing but I want to encourage you that we will get through this.)

I plan to talk with you about exporting when we meet in Atlanta at IWF, but in the meanwhile I’m happy to answer questions and make referrals to resources, whatever will help you move forward with your business.

Reach Laurie Wolff c/o IWFNetworkNews@iwfatlanta.com   

The New CARES Act Is Aimed at Helping You With Worker Payroll. Here's How to Tap It

3. April 2020 16:01

By: Laurie Wolff, Certified Global Business Professional

My guess is you are struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19. Some of you have new opportunities, given the need to retrofit spaces to protect employees and possibly even to produce high need items to fight the pandemic. Some of you can still operate normally. Others are facing state-wide stay-in-place orders that are challenging operations. Still more are seeing large decreases in your booked business and are having to lay off workers and manage your cash flow.

Help is on the way. But you will have to actively engage if you want to take advantage of any of the programs. I will have blogs on several opportunities but for this one I’m focusing on one program offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Part of the CARES Act (the recently passed more than $2 trillion stimulus package) is directly aimed at keeping people working in small businesses across the country. Even if all is great for you right now, pay attention and consider applying. If you qualify as a small business, you can get a government loan that becomes a grant based on maintaining your payroll. Even if times are still good, this will increase your bottom line and allow you to invest in future opportunities. If times are tough, this is a potential life line to hold out until we get through the pandemic induced shut downs.

The Paycheck Protection Program offers small businesses loans that can be forgiven if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the loan is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest and utilities. The forgiven amount has to have at least 75 percent related to payroll expenses, but other expenses can be part of the loan package. 

Consider including expenses related to business expansion. The can include attendance at trade shows such as IWF 2020, which allows you to meet new customers or find new suppliers. I advised another small business I work with to include in his loan package funds to relocate part of his business to business sales effort - which now can’t happen in person - to an online platform. Are you getting the idea? 

 


Is the Tide Favoring U.S.
Wood Industry Exports?

IWF 2020 offers two learning opportunities
on export for the U.S. wood industry
by economist Laurie Wolff. Read more

The loan has a maturity of two years, no payments for six months, and an interest rate of 1%. For now the window for payroll is between February 15th and June 30th so firms that have laid off workers can rehire them based on the loan and still qualify. Possibly the government may lengthen the window or increase the total funding level given future need, but for now the authorization is $350 billion. Loans can’t be for more than $10 million and most will be small.

You need to have a relationship with a banker to get this loan. Many banks that previously did not do SBA loans are seeking approval to make them for their customers. The existing SBA lenders, including the large national banks, are saying they will not be able to expand beyond their existing customers. If your bank isn’t trying to become a lender under this program, my best advice is to talk with the other banks in your town or region to find someone willing to work with you. While the loan is guaranteed by the government, the banks still have to do diligence and so the best situation is to work with a bank that already knows you and your operations.

I hope that the business owners that attended my IWF 2018 workshops on expanding their business through international trade stepped out, followed my advice, and got SBA loans because that now is advantageous. If you already have a SBA loans, it makes it easier to get this one, and the SBA has two programs open to extend payments or add extra lending to their existing clients’ loans.

To qualify as a small business, you generally have to have less than 500 employees, but you can go to SBA.gov to see if your business qualifies. Information about this and other programs is available there, but really, truly for this program you need to talk to your bank to see if they are ready to accept applications and if not, call around town to find a bank that will.

More on other opportunities in future blogs, but all the best as we try together to get through these challenging times!