Pinot's Palette Uses SBA Resources to Paint Through the Hard Times

Kansas City District Office  - September 2021

u s small business administration

Pinot's Palette Uses SBA Resources to Paint Through the Hard Times

Pinot's Palette

Along with the many challenges that businesses face through the pandemic crisis, owners also find creative ways to serve their clients. Barbara Newman and her husband and co-owner, Jim Newman, of Pinot’s Palette in Olathe, Johnson County Kansas is a great example. Newman worked in the customer service field for several years until she married and started a family.

It wasn’t until 2016, that Newman decided to go back to work. Pinot’s Palette provides a place where people can come to relax, socialize and learn something new. Combining a step-by-step painting class with music, wine, and beer, the studio is the perfect backdrop for parties for adults, corporate team building events, fundraisers and children's birthday celebrations. “Our entire business model is based on providing a highly social experience,” Barbara explains. “Our studio holds events where artists lead groups of people who paint, sip and socialize. “

Newman continued to grow her business until the pandemic hit in March 2020 and Johnson County, Kansas announced a “stay-at-home” order. This order required residents to remain in place, with the only exceptions obtaining and providing essential needs. “Because I was nonessential, I was not even allowed to do curbside pickup,” said Newman. Pinot’s Palette changed how they offered their services during the pandemic and delivered paint kits to people’s houses. “I needed to sell 237 paint kits to make rent for the month,” said Newman. “I was the only person assembling and packing up kits.” There was so much COVID financial information being announced and it would change the next day,” she adds. “I also had eight employees wanting to file unemployment.”

Newman was quickly overwhelmed with all the decisions she had to make while providing emotional support to her team. She needed help and she knew just who to call, her trusted business advisor, Jack Harwell (since retired) at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Johnson County Community College. “The SBDC is a trusted source and the one I chose to get all my facts,” she said.

The SBDC helped her prioritize tasks and make informed, deliberate decisions like securing an SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster loan (EIDL). Newman also attended the SBDC’s online webinars that focused on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act for operating small businesses during the crisis. Newman was also able to get six months of principal and interest paid for on an existing SBA loan for her business.

With help from SBA-backed loans and expert advice from the SBDC, Newman learned how to navigate through the pandemic. She was aware of how the pandemic impacted her eight employees so she was relieved to tell them they still had jobs through funding from the SBA PPP loan. According to Newman, the PPP loan was “an umbrella of financial safety for the employees and the business.” which allowed her to breathe a sigh of relief and focus on other decisions she had to make. Newman concentrated on making one decision at a time until she was able to re-open her business in mid-May to the local community.

“It’s important to have that nest egg for the unplanned or unexpected,” Newman said. “We’ve been open for five years and I didn’t pay myself the first two years. If businesses can do so, living lean and having cash reserves is imperative and the pandemic has shown us the importance now more than ever.”

Disclaimer: SBA’s participation or support is not an endorsement of any products, service, or entity.