A Tri-Cities tradition weathers the storm.
Owners Doug and Carrie Lundgren want to make every meal a special occasion.
Before taking ownership in 2019, the couple had made plenty of their own memories at Cedars at Pier One.
“Doug brought me here when we first started dating,” Carrie remembers. “We ordered whisky and ahi tuna.”
“I mean, if you’re going to woo your date, you bring them to Cedars,” Doug says, with a chuckle. “It’s been here since 1976, and is one of the better places to come for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. It’s a romantic place.”
With STCU's help, the restaurant was saved, and employees are back to work, co-owner Doug Lundgren says in this 30-second video.
Following a long career in ranching, Doug acquired some commercial properties with the help of Carrie, who is a practicing real estate broker. After looking at other investment opportunities, Doug made the offhand suggestion of taking over Cedars.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would ever own Cedars,” he says. “Sometimes we still pinch ourselves.”
“Rather than give up, STCU said ‘let’s solve the problem.’”
The leasing of the property proved to be challenging, as the restaurant sits on land held by the Port of Kennewick. Luckily, Doug and Carrie found a willing partner in STCU Commercial Banking Manager Rebekah Dobbs.
“Some of the larger, corporate institutions didn’t want to deal with it,” says Carrie. “But STCU helped us negotiate with the port, made sure the language was acceptable, and got the deal done. Rebekah was instrumental in making it happen.”
Commercial real estate.
“Buying commercial property can be so complicated,” says Carrie Lundgren, “but STCU was with us every step of the way.”
Whether you’re purchasing, refinancing, renovating, or investing in commercial property, STCU can help in structuring a loan that will work best for your business. (All loans subject to approval.)
“We wouldn’t have made it without STCU.”
Doug and Carrie took over operations at Cedars in December of 2019. Little did they know that they would barely get their bearings before the coronavirus pandemic brought the hospitality business to a halt.
“It was a pretty good three months,” says Doug. “We had some cash reserves, and thought that we could handle a couple of months, but that turned into six months, then nine months, and so on. It got pretty dire.”
“STCU’s help with loan deferments and both rounds of PPP (Paycheck Protection Loans) saved us,” says Carrie. “I talked to Rebekah constantly. She laid out our options, and stuck with us the whole time.”
In 2020, STCU’s Commercial and Business Services team completed more than 1,000 PPP loans, totaling more than $31 million in relief to businesses across Washington and North Idaho.
“Our staff was able to relax and take care of their families knowing that their jobs were secure,” Doug says. “We emerged with a sense of comradery, knowing that we made it through this thing together. We’ve got each other’s backs.”
Rebekah Dobbs, commercial banking manager.
“We told Rebekah, ‘We’re not going to give up,’ says Carrie Lundgren. “And she said, ‘I know you’re not. I have full faith in you.”
In such a dynamic and growing region, Rebekah knows that business owners in the Tri-Cities need resources and solutions to grow and succeed, and she's here to make sure they get both.
“The water’s smooth. We made it through the storm.”
As statewide coronavirus restrictions lifted and Cedars resumed full operations, customers poured in to celebrate and enjoy a special night out.
“Early on in the pandemic, we tried the take-out thing, but you come to Cedars for the ambiance and to be on the river,” says Doug. “People love it.”
“The going-forward part is the exciting thing,” Carrie says. “We’re improving things every day, and we’re not going anywhere.”
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