Culpeper Business Owner Keeps Business Afloat through COVID with Help of People Incorporated

Joy Orr, a longtime resident of Culpeper, is excited to give back to her community as a local business owner. She opened a wedding and event venue, The Refinery, downtown in 2019.  Her first year of business was a huge success—business was booming, and she was looking forward to fine-tuning operations at the beginning of 2020. But no one could have predicted how the COVID-19 pandemic would change her plans.

The economic downturn and shutdown caused by the pandemic in spring of 2020 meant that all of Joy’s booked events were cancelled or rescheduled and new bookings ground to a halt. In what normally would have been the busiest time of year for The Refinery, the pandemic was causing cancellations to the events that her business relied upon to keep the doors open.

Joy heard about People Incorporated’s small business loans through a local Culpeper community organization. She closed on a small business loan in late 2021, helping her keep her seven employees on staff, renovate her facility, and continue to provide for her family. The loan application process was easy and fast, a relief after what had been a stressful year.

People Incorporated’s loan not only helped Joy retain her staff, but is also helping her expand her business. She recently took over the rent on the building next door and is in the process of transforming it into Airbnbs. While the pandemic continues to cause uncertainty in her business, Joy now has the security to handle whatever the next year may bring.

““I speak for all small businesses – we’re really grateful for the work everyone is doing so that we can keep our doors open,” said Joy.

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