Footwear company Allbirds to repay its PPP loan


Allbirds, the New Zealand and US shoe company, will repay its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday, May 8, co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger said that while his San Francisco-based company meets the criteria for a small business in pain, it appears that d other businesses needed more cash.

“There are a lot of other businesses and nonprofits that couldn’t get the loans,” he told the network. “And we felt obligated to our community to return it and hope it finds its way to those who really need it.”

Zwillinger was not interviewed and he did not disclose the loan amount. Allbirds did not immediately respond to a request from PYMNTS to disclose the value of the loan.

He said the bad publicity around the popular program was due to the large companies with thousands of employees who applied for and received the forgivable loan.

“These employers got their hands in the honeypot and seized funds, preventing other small businesses from getting it,” he said.

When asked what impact the absence of a PPP loan would have on the woolen shoe business, Zwillinger said he is committed to keeping his 339 U.S. employees on his staff on full pay and benefits at least until the end of July.

“It’s a big statement given the uncertainty,” he said. “But we will keep our commitment and feel comfortable giving money back.”

When it initially asked for the money, the company faced unprecedented uncertainty, he said. For the first time since its launch in March 2016, the company was losing a lot of money, he said. He declined to provide figures.

“We saw PPP as a way to keep our whole herd,” he said.

Allbirds joins other large companies that have repaid the loans, including the Los Angeles Lakers ($ 4.4 million), parent company Taco Cabana and Pollo Tropical Fiesta Restaurant Group ($ 15 million) and Shake Shack ($ 10 million). million dollars), among others.

In a virtual panel with Karen Webster of PYMNTS, Ingo Money CEO Drew Edwards, Planters First Bancorp CEO Dan Speight and K&L Gates law firm partner Judie Rinearson explained how PPP issues have driven P3s companies to turn away from the program.

“I think everyone’s hearts were in the right place when they started this loan program,” Rinearson said. “They wanted it to work… But it’s really tough and I think over time it became clear that it’s a lot harder to deal with than they initially thought.”



On: It’s almost time for the holiday shopping season, and nearly 90% of US consumers plan to do at least some of their purchases online, 13% more than in 2020. The 2021 Holiday Shopping Outlook, PYMNTS surveyed over 3,600 consumers to find out more about what drives online sales this holiday season and the impact of product availability and personalized rewards on merchant preferences.

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