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Focus on a Partnership that Works: Fremont Brewing Company and HomeStreet Bank

 
 
 
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Matt Lincecum was done. He’d had it with banks. And that was a problem, because, as the founder and owner of Fremont Brewing Company, Matt felt that it was time to grow his business.

Matt had built Fremont Brewing Company into a thriving Seattle craft brewer. He had built a community gathering spot and urban beer garden where locals could grab a handcrafted beer and enjoy life. He knew it was time for more.

But he couldn’t get a banker to understand his new vision.

“I was told by several banks that they would only work with me if I put up my own home as collateral,” Matt said. “They looked at my business and tried to fit into a prefabricated loan product instead of bothering to learn about the industry or my business.”

That was when he met with lending expert, David Parr, a commercial lender from HomeStreet Bank.

“David was different from other lenders,” Matt said. “He came down to the brewery and he asked the right questions, about the business, about the neighborhood, about my vision for what the brewery could be. I was impressed—it was like the way you thought banking should be. It was old-school, no doubt. No one else had ever done that before.”

David dug in. He started to learn about the craft-beer sector. The dialogue with Matt went back and forth over the days and weeks following their first meeting.

“David and his team were a solid group of people,” explained Matt. “They came through, and I made my first significant expansion.”

But the relationship didn’t end with the first deal. David and Matt continued to talk, and Matt found himself turning to David for advice on a regular basis.

“David was always willing to share his thoughts and perspective. I was surprised at how much work he’d done learning about craft brewing. There was a growing level of trust.”

That level of trust was important. Like many small business owners, Matt was heavily involved in the actual running of the business. He left the financials to a bookkeeper. But as time went on, Matt was concerned that he couldn’t trust his own books. Most business owners wouldn’t think of taking such concerns to the lender that held their loan, but Matt trusted his lending team.

“I was in a hard place, but I called David and his team made some recommendations, and the situation was worked out. That was when I knew they believed in me, and believed in what my team was trying to do.”

Since 2013, HomeStreet Bank and Fremont Brewing Company have been working together. Several more deals were done, the brewery was busy and business was expanding. In September 2015, Fremont Brewing Company broke ground on a new facility that will consist of a tasting room and large office area, and it is adding new brewing equipment for his ever-growing business. Matt is in awe of the “hundreds of hours” HomeStreet did in preparation for financing the deal.

Today, Fremont Brewing Company is one of the best craft brewers on the West Coast. One of their hand crafted beers, Interurban, is the best selling craft beer in Washington State.

“We make craft beers,” Matt said. “It’s what we do and we’re good at it. It’s good because we take the time to get it right. And our customers love it. When I think of David and his team at HomeStreet, I think of them in the same way. They are craft bankers. Looking back, I see that my relationship with David and HomeStreet was a major turning point for Fremont Brewing Company. I’m grateful for their help, but more than that, I trust them.”

David Parr is a Vice President and Regional Team Lead in Commercial Lending at HomeStreet Bank in Kent, Washington. Parr and his lending team focus on developing long-term and valued relationships with commercial companies in Western Washington. Parr is a recent graduate with honors from the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle. He can be reached directly at his office in Kent at (253) 850-9817 or David.Parr@HomeStreet.com

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