HUTCHINSON, Minn. – Entrepreneurs Vince Maertz and Amanda Thrawl-Maertz opened Flank Steakhouse in June on Main Street in Hutchinson. The couple had help from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Business Finance Program and Microenterprise Loan Program in launching their business.
Vince grew up in St. Paul and Amanda in the Monticello area, and they met while working in the restaurant industry. They moved to Silver Lake and are raising their three girls there.
Self-taught with 25 years of experience, Vince is the top chef at Flank Steakhouse, and Amanda is managing the front of house, relying on her decade of experience in hospitality. Their goal is to create an elevated dining experience. The menu focuses on local ingredients, and everything is made in house.
“We make our ketchup, we break down our own meats, we bake our own buns and baguettes. Making everything from scratch takes a village, and our village happens to be incredibly talented,” Vince said. “We are still making a few mistakes here and there, but the overwhelming response has been over the top in positivity. The community has been so supportive and welcoming.”
Flank Steakhouse is in downtown Hutchinson, located in the building that housed the fine dining restaurant Zellas before it closed last year during the pandemic. Loan funds from SWIF provided working capital to get the new business started. Microloan clients also receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff to improve their business management skills. Areas of support include business planning and financials analysis, QuickBooks training, marketing assistance and other training opportunities for the life of the loan.
“Vince and Amanda are not only fulfilling their business dreams, but they’re also adding a lot to the community by opening this restaurant. We’re happy to be here as a partner for them,” said Jackie Turner, SWIF Economic Development Officer.
Loan programs have been a key function of SWIF since its inception to support communities and businesses throughout southwest Minnesota. In 2001, microlending was added to existing programs as a tool to support small businesses and people looking for self-employment opportunities.
This microloan program receives funding assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact SWIF at 800-594-9480, 320-587-4848 or [email protected].
About Southwest Initiative Foundation
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a nonprofit community foundation connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities to create a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has distributed more than $88 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs.
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