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The Hukilau restaurant of Florence finds aloha amid crisis

The friendly faces and talented chefs of The Hukilau restaurant are more than employees — they are “ohana,” says owner Christian Jakobsen, meaning that they are family. Step into this popular Florence eatery—with its Hawaiian music and surfer videos playing—and you’ll experience the maika’i maika’i (good vibes), too.

When COVID-19 hit in March, Christian’s business, like many other food establishments, took a hit also. “When COVID started, we had to shut down for dine-in and we did lay some people off.”

Christian was with another bank at the time and when he inquired about the loans that were being made available to businesses as part of the CARES Act to keep employees on the payroll, his bank didn’t provide the support he needed.

“We tried to apply for the PPP loan with them and they were not helpful at all. They said, basically, you’re on your own, it’s self-explanatory, just do it yourself. And then we couldn’t get it.”

That’s when he decided to call Oregon Pacific Bank. “We changed banks to OPB and within the first week, we got the PPP loan. And, they helped us go through the whole thing, step by step.”

Mike Webb of Oregon Pacific Bank says it feels good knowing that they are helping local businesses keep their doors open and community members continue to work.

“Knowing that you’re helping a business like that—that you can be a partner in the struggle, so to speak, and help them get through it—it was a big deal. Florence is a tight-knit community; people work together. And, if you can be part of that and help that wheel turn, that helps the community all around.”

In this video, you’ll meet Christian and learn about the special relationship he has with his employees and now Oregon Pacific Bank.

In all, Oregon Pacific Bank has loaned more than $125.2 million to 752 businesses and nonprofits in Lane, Coos, Douglas and Jackson counties, as part of the U.S. Paycheck Protection Program, retaining more than 15,000 local jobs. Part of the CARES Act, these forgivable loans provide a direct incentive for businesses and nonprofits to keep workers employed during the crisis.

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