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Customer throws struggling Phoenix pizzeria a financial lifeline

Despite a restaurant without a single customer in it, Base Pizzeria co-owner Michael Sands keeps those hot pies headed out the door.
"Business has been tough," Sands says. "It’s been tough trying to keep employees employed. We've managed to, which is fantastic. And we're just kind of... we are just rolling with the punches at this stage."

Like other small business owners across the Valley and the country, when they heard about the Paycheck Protection Program from the federal government, they jumped at the chance. "How do we get it and how do we get it quickly? Because we are concerned the funds might run dry,” explained Sands.
But it was one of their own customers, who works at a local bank, who threw them their financial lifeline. "He works for First International Bank and Trust and he managed to help us out," says Sands. "We found with our usual bank that they were struggling a little bit. Struggling with the process and the paperwork. So thankfully our regular guest helped us out."
In an ironic twist, Sands and his wife actually left the banking world back in Australia to hook up with his brother and his wife here to find their American dream, creating this popular pizzeria.
"I remember back when I was in the industry and we were doing anti-money laundering programs and they were taking years to develop and put in place," he says. "To do this stuff in a week, two weeks, is just incredible."
Sands gets a bit emotional as he explains being approved for the loan. "It means we'll keep people employed. Keep them looking after their families and enable us as well and keep us getting those pizzas out the door."
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