For the past decade, area restaurants have featured some of the finest quality organic heirloom vegetables on their menus thanks to Squeaky Green Organics.
Brian and Suzanne Kliewer own and operate Squeaky Green Organics in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, in addition to working full-time jobs outside of their vegetable business. Bryan has been practicing growing perfect produce since he was young.
“My mother taught me how to garden, and I’ve always enjoyed it,” he said. “We started the business because we identified an unmet need for premium vegetables by high-end Omaha restaurants.”
Since opening, their operation has run smoothly. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, restaurants closed and businesses slowed down all over the country—and in Bryan and Suzanne’s own backyard.
The couple decided to reach out for financial assistance from a trusted source.
“I learned about the Center for Rural Affairs when a former business acquaintance started working there,” Bryan said. “I subscribed to the email alerts to learn about the organization, and that is where I read about the loan opportunity.”
The business owners applied for and received a recovery loan through a program the Center launched to help businesses and local economies recover from the pandemic. Through it, the organization offers low-interest rate loans to qualified borrowers.
Funds may be used for business recovery, business growth, starting a new business, working capital, equipment, inventory, and real estate. Processing time is quick, and it was the perfect solution for the Kliewers.
Lori Schrader, northeast Nebraska loan specialist with the Center, helped.
"Bryan and Suzanne have a very impressive operation, and the fact that they are providing their products to local restaurants and farmers markets is a great asset for the surrounding communities," said Lori. “It’s been a great pleasure to work with them, and to continue our partnership by keeping the lines of communications open.”
Among other things, the Kliewers used the financing to buy equipment and improve farm infrastructure that will increase production of heirloom vegetables all year, especially harvested-to-order in November and December.
“The pandemic reduced cash reserves personally and for our company,” said Bryan. “Center staff gave excellent service, and the loan offered us access to much-needed capital, with a process that was efficient and streamlined.”
For more information and to apply for a recovery loan through the Center, visit cfra.org/recovery-loans.
At a glance
Squeaky Green Organics
Bryan and Suzanne Kliewer
17409 Webster Blvd., Plattsmouth, NE 68048
The farm is not open to the public.
Featured photos: Products grown at Squeaky Green Organics can be found at restaurants in the Omaha area. | Photos submitted.