WAITE PARK – A Waite Park salon is looking to expand after less than a year of business thanks to a microlending program.

Morph Salon and Barbershop, located at 110 2nd Street South, was able to open amid the COVID-19 pandemic with assistance from the Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program. The shop offers hair services, lash extensions and nail and make-up services. Co-owners Natasha Sankey and Sam Haug say they wanted the shop to have “the welcoming feel of a small-town barber.”

“I started doing hair to find beauty in myself. I ended up falling in love with and the relationships I built with my clients,” said Sankey. “I noticed that the beauty I found in myself rubbed off on other people. They started to see the beauty in themselves creating a domino effect. I look at it as my version of paying it forward.”

SWIF began offering microlending to small businesses and entrepreneurs in 2001. Jackie Turner, SWIF’s Economic Development Officer, says Morph Salon’s microloan provided working capital and allowed Sankey and Haug to purchase inventory to get the business off the ground.

“Helping Natasha and Sam capitalize on this opportunity for self-employment is not only great for them, but also for the community as small businesses help drive economic growth,” Turner said.

SWIF loan recipients also receive technical, business and marketing assistance throughout the life of the loan. The program is supposed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Anyone interested in learning more can call 1-320-587-4848 or loans@swifoundation.org.

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