When a devastating fire destroyed Go Fish! Seafood in Reading, Berks County, business owner Heather Clark didn’t give up. She ended up rebuilding just a few miles away, in a space she purchased and renovated using an SBA 504 loan facilitated by Seedcopa.
Then, just a few months after reopening, COVID-19 hit, shutting down eateries across Pennsylvania for months. Heather found herself facing yet another moment where resilience was essential to the survival of her business.
Her SBA 504 loan helped out. The timing of Heather’s loan made her eligible for 6 months of covered payments, with no need to ever repay, due to the COVID relief measures in place for government-backed loans like hers. And Heather just became eligible for 2 months of covered payments.
If ever there was a deserving business, Go Fish! Seafood is one of them. To help out bartenders who weren’t making tips a couple of months ago, Go Fish! held a “best drink” contest to award them gift cards, publicity and more. In addition, Go Fish! started a Go Fund Me page so people could donate prepared lunches to first responders. Go Fish! also helped out restaurants that were struggling during the holidays by organizing a restaurant gift card exchange to encourage support.
“I grew up in Bradford County in a little town called Rome, and I think growing up in a rural area forced me to be creative and innovative from the get-go,” says Heather.
Go Fish! Seafood has gone from in-person dining to also offering online ordering, delivery and curbside service. The restaurant’s Sushi takeout kits, which give families something fun to do together, have been extremely popular. And Go Fish! Seafood will continue to offer a fun, outdoor dining atmosphere that’s far more than tents and picnic tables. (Sun sails, potted birch trees, fire pits and heated greenhouses have all made appearances.)
In the meantime, look for Go Fish! to continue to thrive on South Hull Street in its 9,000 square feet of space spanning 3 floors
“We feel lucky that we were able to triple our space affordably, using our SBA 504 loan before COVID-19 even hit,” says Heather. “We’re looking forward to welcoming back even more guests.”