The Spotlight Lounge, which opened in September 2021, may be about to close its doors permanently. That is if they do not receive a loan from Small Business Association; the one they applied for in October 2021.
“We fought with them over the SBA EIDL (Small Business Association Economic Injury Disaster Loan),” said Charla Burton, The Spotlight Lounge’s accountant and co-owner Matt Miskimins’ girlfriend. “I can’t say they approved us, but we definitely qualify. can get our IRS transcripts for 2019 and 2020. But they [the SBA] changed so that you cannot use this form; you must use a 4506-T form on which is written “Catastrophe”. We did it. Long story short, we’ve returned 7 Form 4506-Ts since October.”
Burton said they have been in a constant state of uncertainty since October last year due to the SBA’s alleged “mishandling” of their forms. And, Burton said, they’re not the only company struggling with this.
“I joined this SBA EIDL Facebook group and it’s not just us; it’s everyone in the United States doing the exact same thing,” she said. “What I’ve read is that to get into the SBA…the only people who have been successful in getting funding are people who have contacted their Congress. So I contacted Liz Cheney’s office and I spoke to And since they got involved, I mean about two weeks ago, it’s progressed, I got an email from the SBA on Thursday saying they’ve put us on a priority list.
Burton said, unequivocally, that this SBA loan is the deciding factor in whether or not they will stay open.
“We’ve been waiting for it since October,” she said. “And Liz Cheney’s office was amazing to step in and all the correspondence went through her office and they’re there. I mean, they’re to this. I never needed to go to a government official for help and they are everywhere which really impressed me. They were a big help. But that’s where we are; without this SBA EID loan, we have no capital to work with.”
It was announced at Tuesday’s city council meeting that the Spotlight Lounge would not be renewing its liquor license and Burton said last Saturday’s show could very well have been the last.
“What concerns us the most is our staff,” Burton revealed. “We told them ‘Here’s the deal, this might be our last show and if you need to find another job, we understand.’ And each of them said, “No, we’re staying with you until the end.”
It’s not just employees who would be affected by the loss of Spotlight. Since its opening, The Spotlight Lounge has featured a wide range of local and national acts; groups, solo artists, etc.
“Debbie Dallman [Owner of The Spotlight Lounge] worked hard,” Burton said. “Debbie has booked us until the end of July. And if that loan doesn’t go through, we’ll have to call all those artists, even the domestic artists, and cancel if we can’t move them to the Sky Terrace because of that funding.”
Matt Mikimins, the other owner of The Spotlight Lounge, said it’s a place where local artists come to play for the public, whether it’s a big show on Saturday night or even just an acoustic set at nighttime. lunch.
“We’re a great venue,” Mikimins said. “It’s amazing here. We have state-of-the-art lights. We have state-of-the-art sound. It’s a good place, we just need the capital. We contacted the office of Liz Cheney and that’s what really gave us the traction because the SBA seems to have fallen on deaf ears for a long time But once Charla got Liz Cheney’s office involved it seems like progress We just need capital to work with and because all that capital that we started with has been eaten up by opening fees, that’s where it gets expensive.”
Burton said they’re just trying to make it in the summer because during those months of May through August, downtown Casper is an oasis of live music and events. The Spotlight Lounge is the perfect place to really serve as a venue for entertainment and live music. But if the SBA loan doesn’t materialize, they won’t be able to last.
“We were super excited because next summer is going to be amazing,” Burton said. “You have the Spotlight and you can drink outside. You can go next door to Frontier Brewing. You can venture down the road to Bourgeois Pig. The atmosphere we’re trying to bring to Casper is like Fort Collins. In Fort Collins, you can go bar to bar and have a great time, and that’s what we’re trying to bring to downtown Casper.”
Burton also said there was a historical aspect to The Spotlight Lounge.
“I remember my grandmother dropping me off at the bar counter out front and eating a banana malt with my brother while she was shopping,” Burton said. “We wanted to keep the history here. We wanted to help bring more to the city centre. But without this loan and without this capital to work with right now, we can’t.
“Matt has a day job and he pays all our bills and takes care of our family and invests money in The Spotliught. And Debbie works by herself at the Sky Terrace at the airport seven days a week, just to have income for here. But we can’t live like this forever. As much as our heart is in it, and as much as the heart of the community is in it, we just can’t do it. And it sucks because the SBA said we qualify. We know we qualify, but it’s a matter of when. When are they going to approve us?”
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