The team at Casco Tools includes president Casey Cass (far left), director of operations Heather White (middle) and Dave Wells from the rental and repair department.
When Hurricane Irma struck Florida in mid-September, Casco Tools in Stuart, Florida, was hit hard.
Irma affected small Florida businesses from Miami all the way up to Tampa Bay. The entire state felt the wrath from the storm.
“We couldn’t open. We couldn’t do any business without any power,” said Heather White, Casco’s Director of Operations. “We lost power at our homes and we had some damage to our buildings. It was just chaos. We were running on a generator for a while.”
Heather said the Stuart area had tornados occur during the hurricane and they were especially close to Casco’s location. Luckily, Casco wasn’t affected by the storm surge from Hurricane Irma.
“It could have been a lot worse because we were really close to the water. We have been told there was a tornado that popped down right in our parking lot. That’s crazy to think about,” Heather said.
The Hurricane Relief Express Loan Program
After Hurricane Harvey and Irma hit land in the United States, Stearns Bank introduced the Hurricane Relief Express Loan Program in September 2017.
As part of the program, Stearns Bank offered business loans up to $25,000 to customers with businesses in FEMA designated relief areas in Florida and Texas that were rebuilding or repairing after hurricane losses. The program offered a 12-month loan term at zero percent interest.
Stearns Bank paid the interest on the loan by donating 5 percent of the loan’s balance to the American Red Cross.
After hearing about the program, Heather reached out to Ariel Gist, who is an account manager at Stearns Bank’s Equipment Finance Division. Ariel had worked with Heather and Casco president, Casey Cass, on their financing needs in the past.
“I was so happy to receive their call and let them know about our hurricane relief program,” Ariel said. “Heather said it would help them greatly and we were able to get them approved within the day!”
Heather estimated that it would take Casco Tools at least two months to fully get back on its feet. Casco Tools was able to delay its payments on other Stearns loans and take advantage of the hurricane relief loan program.
A Financing Relationship That Continues To Grow
Getting back to normal is something Casco Tools is looking forward to.
“Working with Ariel and the rest of the Stearns team was awesome. They always call to check in. That’s priceless. Everybody at Stearns Bank has always been friendly. If she says something is going to be done, you don’t have to worry about it. It’s going to get done.” Heather said.
Ariel was happy to help a small business in need. “For us being able to delay payments is pretty awesome,” Ariel said. “They were completely shocked by the program with no interest. What they would have paid in interest is going back to (The American) Red Cross.”
Casco Tools and Stearns Bank are looking forward to continue growing their relationship.