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Small business loan from Northwest Bank keeps The Prime Rib cooking

posted on Thursday, April 18, 2019 in Business

Image of the Prime Rib Restaurant

Pictured are Rob and Carol Gilbertson (right), owners of The Prime Rib in Spencer, located at 1205 S Grand Ave, Spencer, IA, along with Paul Daniels (left), Northwest Bank Business Banker.

Locally-owned restaurants are the cornerstones of rural Iowa communities. They provide a central hub for celebrations, entertainment, socializing and, of course, a savory meal.

The Prime Rib steakhouse, located in Spencer, Iowa, is no exception. Residents of the lakes region have enjoyed the restaurant’s legendary slow cooked prime rib dinner since the early 1980s.

Northwest Bank customers Rob and Carol Gilbertson purchased The Prime Rib in 2018 when its original owner, Gary “Huey” Huberg, retired.

“We talked about it for 14-months before we actually signed on the dotted line,” said Rob Gilbertson. “The Prime Rib is an institution in Spencer so we knew we had to keep it going.”

The Gilbertsons turned to Northwest Bank to secure a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to purchase and update The Prime Rib.

“Huey and I sat down with Dean Jacobsen, Doug Benjamin and Paul Daniels at the Spencer branch to discuss our vision for the restaurant and make sure it made sense financially,” said Gilbertson. “Then Paul connected us to other resources for small business owners, including the Siouxland Economic Development Corp. and Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center.”

The Small Business Development Center helped the Gilbertsons formulate a business plan that allowed them to continue Huey’s legacy and make phased renovations to the restaurant’s interior design.

Thanks to the financing from Northwest Bank, Rob and Carol have made improvements to the restaurant’s fine-dining area, Silver Hammer lounge and soon the adjoining party room.

“We expanded the menu and now exclusively serve Iowa Certified Angus Beef®. We added more seating and several new large screen TVs in the lounge. We hung chandeliers, installed shiplap walls and re-painted in the fine-dining area,” said Gilbertson. 

In addition to the restaurant enhancements, The Prime Rib stepped up its marketing efforts.

“We updated our Facebook page to deliver news and updates to our patrons. We expanded Wing Night on Wednesdays and Taco Night on Thursdays by updating the menus with additional choices.

Through all the changes, one thing has remained the same — the restaurant has retained its loyal patrons.

“We’re really pleased to be bringing in a new crowd while maintaining friendships that go back several decades,” said the Gilberstons.

With the renovations and increased marketing efforts to attract new customers, it was important for Rob and Carol to have banking tools that make it easy to manage day-to-day cash flow. They turned to Northwest Bank’s Professional Merchant Solutions for credit card processing and Business Online tools.

“Professional Merchant Solutions allows the restaurant to process debit, credit and gift cards at a competitive processing rate that has a positive impact on our bottom line,” said Gilbertson. “And with the use of Northwest Banks’ Business Online tools we’re able to easily manage our day-to-day cash flow and deposit checks any time of day. Both of these services have been extremely valuable in managing the restaurant”

Small business ownership transitions can be trying but the Gilbertsons attribute much of their success to the guidance and support they received from Northwest Bank.

“Paul Daniels was absolutely instrumental in helping us purchase The Prime Rib. His professionalism is unmatched,” said the Gilbertsons. “We can’t say enough about him. We really appreciate that Paul, Dean, Doug and everyone at Northwest Bank handles themselves in a very professional manner.”

Northwest Bank’s commercial business bankers are committed to helping small business owners across Iowa and Nebraska secure the financing they need to make their dreams become reality. Contact one of our bankers today to learn more about small business lending options.

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