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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obama, Murray, Locke Meet with Main Street Alliance Small Business Owners in WA State

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Contact: Joshua Welter, Main Street Alliance of Washington, 206-383-1857 cell,


Reinvigorating small business lending from community banks will help small businesses grow, create jobs, and build economy

SEATTLE, WA—On Tuesday, President Barack Obama, Senator Patty Murray, and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke met with three Washington state small business owners at a roundtable discussion in Seattle about the importance of reinvigorating small business lending to allow small businesses to grow, create jobs, and build the economy.

Main Street Alliance of Washington members Joe Fugere (Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, Seattle and Issaquah, WA) and Tiffany Turner (Inn at the Discovery Coast, Long Beach, WA) were two of the three small business owners participating in the roundtable.

Joe Fugere is the founder of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria in Seattle. The first Tutta Bella opened in 2004 and has since grown to four locations, employing 180 employees. This month, Tutta Bella was singled out, out of 33,000 pizza restaurants across the country, to be honored as the “2010 Independent Pizzeria of the Year” by Pizza Magazine. Despite his success, when Fugere was seeking credit to open a fourth location last year in Issaquah, he was flatly turned down by the big banks.

“I was deeply offended,” said Fugere. “I had a healthy, profitable business and a blemish-free history of making every loan payment, in full and on time. And now, I was being called ‘risky’ by the big banks, when in fact it was their risky decisions on Wall Street that caused the economy to collapse in the first place.”

Having been rejected by larger banks, Joe approached a community bank and within a few weeks the loan was approved. In mid-2009 Tutta Bella’s fourth location opened and currently employs 50 people. Recently, an SBA loan under the Recovery Act has helped him improve the company’s cash flow. Joe is proof that community banks can be the engine for getting much needed loans to small businesses, so small businesses can grow, create jobs, and build the economy.

Tiffany Turner and her husband, Brady, opened the Inn at Discovery Coast in 2004 in their native Long Beach, with a loan from a local community bank. Out of the same office Tiffany and Brady manage the 12-room Inn and eight bungalows nearby. There are currently four full-time employees and during the peak season there are up to seven additional part-time employees. Since its opening the business has thrived, even expanding during the recent economic downturn. In 2009 they approached their bank about a loan in order to expand but were turned down. However, just recently, Tiffany and Brady were approved for a loan that will enable them to expand operations and hire up to 20 additional full-time and part-time employees over the coming year. Tiffany and her husband have been ready to expand and hire more employees, and can finally do so thanks to an economic climate where community banks are lending to small businesses again.

“Small businesses can be the engine of job growth that gets us out of the recession, but to do it we need to keep up efforts to reinvigorate small business lending from community banks,” said Turner.

Small business owners said they support efforts by President Obama and Senator Murray to create a $30 billion small business lending fund to help local community banks get the capital they need to lend money to small businesses.

The Main Street Alliance of Washington provides small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues of our time. Our advocacy promotes vibrant businesses and healthy communities, and fosters leadership development of socially responsible business leaders.

Tutta Bella Public Relations Contact:

Allan Aquila (206) 948-1997

Norma Rosenthal (206) 331-7901

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