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Bend business turns to GoFundMe site to help stay afloat

Stihl Whiskey Bar finally got its emergency loan, but still needs help

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Many Central Oregon businesses are having trouble getting federal assistance amid lengthy business closures, and one in Bend is now requesting and getting help from the community in what's become a familiar path in recent years: a GoFundMe page.

Stihl Whiskey Bar, located off Northwest Franklin Avenue, has been operating successfully for the past five years.

Owner Jason Gartz said Thursday he applied for federal loans, like the Emergency Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program, but after not hearing back about his status and PPP funds running out, he began to worry.

He has a staff of nine employees, including himself, and only one is receiving unemployment benefits. Now the owners are doing everything they can to finance the bar. Gartz sister, Jenn, decided to create a GoFundMe page to help the business stay afloat.

"This was me looking towards the future. This was me going, 'Alright if we open up, we are going to be negative," Gartz said. "Every week, we're going to be in the red.' So we're going to have to have this slush fund. I want my people back here. I want them working, they want to be working. I'll be in the red, but there's got to be somewhere that money comes from."

So far, the GoFundMe page has raised over $12,000. Gartz said after a month and a half of waiting, he received his EDL loan four days ago. He said the GoFundMe money and loan will go toward his lease, utilities and maintaining his staff.

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.

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