Small business owners meet with banks

Posted August 2, 2010 12:59 p.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2010 2:01 p.m. EDT

— About 200 small business owners in the Triangle met with local banks on Monday to find out what it takes to get a loan in today’s economy.

The free event was hosted by U.S. Reps. David Price, D-Chapel Hill, and Bob Etheridge, D-Lillington, at Wake Technical Community College’s western campus in Cary.

"They would like to actually see us in business, selling product with a track record," entrepreneur David Belt said. "So, that poses a problem for start-ups."

Bob Stewart of East Carolina Bank, said money is still available for small businesses; they just need to have a viable plan.

“We may have tightened up our credit standards from the go-go years of three or four years ago. It is more like back to the way things should have been from the beginning,” Stewart said.

In her years as co-owner of The Blossom Shop, Julie Barry never used a line of credit to pay the business' bills. She simply spent money as it came in. Then, the economy collapsed.

“It was the most nerve-wracking, upsetting time that I can ever remember. I don't ever want to go through that,” Barry said.

Barry said she sought loans at banks but was turned down. “They were not loaning,” she said.

She ended up selling the store to another florist and now just manages the shop.

After her experience, Barry said she can feel the frustration small business owners go through.

“Everyone was getting bailed out except the small business person. And I kind of feel the same way with everything, still,” she said.