Nancy Jo’s Burgers & Fries
Nancy Jo’s Burgers & Fries is a chain of seven old-fashioned burger joints in Oregon. It’s owned and operated by husband-and-wife Richard and Nancy Giddens, who built the business one location at a time, beginning in 2013. They both had backgrounds in hospitality and Nancy Jo’s is the result of a dream to own their own business.
Like many restaurants, Nancy Jo’s was devastated by the pandemic. The combined blows of government shutdown and stay-at-home orders, frightened patrons and a forced switch to carryout-only threatened to put it out of business. The owners also wanted to help their 60-some employees weather the crisis.
“It was a wonderful experience. It made me all warm and fuzzy inside.” – Richard Giddens, co-owner, Nancy Jo’s Burgers & Fries
The Giddenses contacted the institutions at which they did most of their banking, but their calls went unanswered. Desperate, they turned to their local KeyBank, where they had only one small account. KeyBank immediately made them a priority.
“They really went to bat for us,” said Nancy Giddens, whose image and name are featured in the company logo.
Their bankers helped them assemble the necessary documentation to apply for a series of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to keep the restaurants open and pay their employees.
“They explained everything, answered all of our questions and were always there for us,” Nancy said.
The couple also obtained a line of credit through KeyBank, but never had to use it. They used the PPP money to pay employees and even helped some of them with their rent and other expenses.
With the help of nine PPP loans and the line of credit, the Giddenses were able to keep six of their seven businesses open for carryout during the pandemic and did not have to furlough any employees. KeyBank helped them get the PPP loans forgiven and, as COVID-19 restrictions ease, the restaurants are filling up again, a return to normalcy that thrills Nancy.
“That’s the one thing I missed most of all – human interaction,” she said.
The chain recently won Best Burger in Willamette Valley, a distinction that will surely help the couple carry out their plan to franchise the business and retire.
“If it weren’t for KeyBank, we wouldn’t be here right now,” Nancy said.