Small businesses have big hurdles to conquer during the pandemic

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The pandemic has been exceptionally tough on small businesses, including those located here in the Grand Valley. From October 2020 to October 2021, one in five businesses shut down, while others are asking for help from the community to keep their doors open. This might lead some to believe that this is not the right time to open a business, but small business license applications have increased by 24% since the beginning of the pandemic.

The daunting numbers haven’t stopped local business owner Benjamin Rueck and his partners from opening the first 24-hour climbing facility in Grand Junction and accomplishing their goal of making the Western Slope a premier climbing destination.

“The challenges presented trying to open during the pandemic were quite numerous,” said Rueck. “SBA loans and other types of funding from the banks were generally on a freeze due to the unsure nature of everything happening during the initial 2020 onset of the pandemic.“

SBA loans, or Small Business Administration loans, have helped many small businesses get the money they needed. Over $73 billion has been approved for small businesses since the start of 2020. Even with billions of dollars being utilized by banks to help kickstart businesses, sometimes the funds are just out of reach.

Grip Bouldering, the new 24-hour climbing facility set to open on Feb. 2, is one of those examples.

“We had to find alternative means and scale down quite a bit,” continued Rueck. “Our only answer was to find personal investors that felt aligned to our purpose.”

With investors and a facility in place, the final hurdle is opening the doors and seeing their dream become a reality.

“There was a lot of build-up leading to our doors’ opening and just being able to finally have a facility for the community is making us quite happy!” Ben Rueck said.

KREX will bring you more on the opening of Grip Bouldering Thursday with Demetrious Gamble.

Source: Grand Junction Local News | Small businesses have big hurdles to conquer during the pandemic