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Stories of Impact



Urban Kutz

Cleveland, OH Small Business Lending

Waverly Willis is the owner of Urban Kutz, a successful barbershop with two locations in Cleveland, OH. After being in business for several years, he decided to buy one of the buildings where his shop was renting a space, but he was not able to obtain a mortgage through traditional means.

NDC’s loan officer walked him through the process of securing a $105,000 CILF loan to purchase the building. His long-term loan payment is less than what he was paying in rent. In the second storefront of the building he now owns, Mr. Willis opened a new styling salon, creating six more jobs for hair and nail stylists, as well as a manager.

“Now that I own the building, it’s helped my confidence. I don’t have to call the landlord and ask, can I please do this? I’m a shot-caller now. It feels good. I’m able to employ people. You can become a well-paid, tax-paying citizen, it feels good.”

Mr. Willis gives back to the community by hiring and training ex-felons, and he has been featured in the news several times for this work.

“I got a call from people who help people with reentry about a guy who got his barber license in prison, but no other barbershops wanted to deal with him. I sat down with him; I called his references. Everyone gave him a nod. He was rough around the edges at first, but he’s married now, has a kid, he’s been working for me for six years. He’s living a regular life now. The manager at the shop didn’t have the best background either. They are family men just like myself.”

When the pandemic hit, NDC created a Stabilization Fund with Cuyahoga County, which Mr. Willis was able to tap for a $10,000 working capital loan.