We have all had our lives upturned by the COVID-19 pandemic, but small businesses have been hit harder than most. The mom-and-pop stores that rely on local customers to sustain them, that participate in neighborhood events, that support the community supporting them, struggled to continue business-as-usual operations while following social distancing guidelines. Even if their products and services could be sold online, their customers were likely unable to make their usual purchases due to their own financial hardships. In response, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created.
The PPP loans are intended to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The Small Business Association will forgive the PPP loans if businesses follow the requirements in keeping their employees on the payroll and in how they use the money. Understandably, people flocked toward financial institutions to claim their loan so they could keep their company and staff afloat.
Unfortunately, the PPP loans process disappointed many small businesses when the program started. Nindi Wadhwa was one of these business owners seeking assistance. With his wife Carissa, he founded Scooptacular amid the housing crash 10 years ago. Nindi recalled, “Our vision was to be a beacon of hope to the community during that time. What also motivated me was to create a family-friendly place where I could take my kiddos on daddy dates.” While living in Laveen, they found there wasn’t much for families to do, and this was a great way to contribute to the neighborhood. They’ve grown a lot since then, becoming a staple in the small town, and anyone who walks in will feel at home.
Because Scooptacular relies heavily on their community, they needed to apply for a PPP loan to sustain their business. However, Scooptacular struggled to obtain a loan before the funding ran out. Yet Nindi and Carissa refused to give up, and were bolstered by the outpouring of support they received from their loyal customers. Once the next round of applications began, they applied again through SunWest, and “were finally able to secure funding through the PPP Program. After speaking with [SBA Arizona Deputy District Director] Shivani last week we reached out to SunWest Credit Union. I was amazed at how quickly they pulled it off. We filled out the application at 11:30 am. The very next morning we were approved.”
Our SunWest team was ready and willing to offer aid as soon as they could, and Nindi was extremely grateful. “I just wanted to give my kudos to Jay and Joseph for their help,” he said of their service. “I was able to call SunWest and speak to a human right away. They were awesome to work with.” Jay, our Direct Lending Manager, and Joe, our Director of Risk Management – and their dedicated teams – have been on fire assisting small business owners in successfully applying for the PPP loans. Scooptacular was no different.
We at SunWest view assisting local entrepreneurs like Nindi and Carissa to be not just our job, but our duty. Nindi’s gratitude hammered home just how important this work is. “Without you all, I don’t think we would have been able to pull this off. Thank you all for your help through this process,” he told us. As a financial institution that is from and for Arizona, SunWest Credit Union is proud to contribute stability to the community that, in turn, carries us forward through hard times like these.
Anyone who tastes the efforts of this family-run business is sure to be thrilled it has received the support it needed. Scooptacular is worth a trip whenever you’re in the Valley: “We make all of our ice cream in-house and have won blue ribbons from the national ice cream association!!! Currently we have our flagship store in Laveen. We also wholesale to several Valley restaurants like Lou Malnati’s Pizza and have a few dessert places that carry our ice cream! Tropical Sno Glendale, Tropical Sno Mesa and Scooptopia!” They have many unique flavors that are sure to delight adults and kids alike. Plus, you can enjoy your ice cream and stay safe by ordering online!
Not only was Nindi relieved to finally receive his PPP loan, he was also excited about our youth accounts. “My kids are 5, 10 and 12. We plan on coming in once the branches are open to have them open accounts!!!” he let us know. We can’t wait to be able to see and give prizes to our Pounce Accounts members again – but in the meantime, we still have fun, free, at-home activities to participate in!
From little kids to small business owners, SunWest is here for you when the big banks aren’t. Strengthening our community so we can all get through tough times together is our top priority. Nindi, Carissa, and their kids deserve to feel cared for during this time, and local Arizonan businesses deserve to survive. We will always believe that our members are more than just a number.