Twin Falls brewery uses Idaho small-business program to open its doors

Twin Falls is experiencing a downtown transformation. New sidewalks and buildings are under construction and innovative businesses are opening. One of those businesses, Koto Brewing Co., is the lifelong dream of owner Shane Cook. His vision for a brewery, which opened its doors in December, is reality thanks to a unique Idaho small-business program.

The Collateral Support Program helps small businesses like Koto Brewing Co. qualify for financing. The program, administered by Idaho Housing and Finance Association, uses cash deposits to help small businesses enhance their collateral and qualify for loans that would otherwise be non-bankable.

The Koto Building had been vacant for about a year. Cook’s original plan was to lease the building for a new brewery, but he decided to buy it because it needed extensive work. He invested his own capital to start the business, but needed collateral support to qualify for a small-business loan.

Local bank and Idaho Housing help finance Twin Falls downtown growth

First Federal Savings Bank in Twin Falls and Idaho Housing and Finance Association were there to help Cook’s dream become a reality. Cook qualified for the Collateral Support Program, which backed the loan for his new brewery.

“It absolutely helps a lot of our small-business owners conserve working capital. It also helps those borrowers where they don’t have the capital to even spare for a down payment,” said Kai Matthews, a business banking officer at First Federal.

The Collateral Support Program gave Cook the capital he needed to purchase and renovate the building as well as close on the property in a timely manner. “It was like a perfect storm. Everything came together at the right time,” Cook said. The quick turnaround also allowed Cook to start renovations on the 90-year-old building earlier than expected.

“What I thought was going to take a few months has been over a year now,” Cook said. Over the past year, Cook has replaced the wiring, plumbing, floors, and structure of the building. Many of those materials, such as brick and a support post were repurposed to ensure the building keeps its historical integrity intact.

“We’ve been able to do everything right instead of having to piece things together and change things in the future. We’re doing it from the beginning,” Cook said. “Without IHFA, we probably would still be looking for a place.”

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