Cliff Hodges is passionate about helping people connect and fall in love with nature. After a brief stint in the tech industry, he decided to turn this passion into a career by starting Adventure Out in 2004. Based in Santa Cruz, California, the outdoor school and adventure guide service offers programs such as surfing lessons, rock climbing classes, and other outdoor experiences to its customers. What started out as a hobby has grown rapidly over the last 17 years, turning into a thriving business that serves nearly 10,000 customers annually.
As news of the COVID-19 pandemic spread all over the world, Hodges worried about the impact it would have upon his business and staff. Since the business permits on public lands, they were directly impacted when the state closed its beaches and parks. As a result, Adventure Out closed and ceased operations in March 2020. With no other source of revenue, Hodges had to make the difficult decision of letting all staff, including himself, go.
In dire need of funds, Hodges applied for a PPP loan through a traditional bank, however, the bank was unable to process its backlog of applications in a timely manner. Eventually Hodges decided to search elsewhere in hopes of receiving funds through a reliable source.
After reading about CRF on a trusted website, Hodges applied for PPP loans in 2020 and 2021 through the CDFI. The application process was easy and Adventure Out was able to receive funding quickly. Using PPP funds, Hodges was able to hire back most of his employees and raise their salaries. After three months of closure, Adventure Out was allowed to re-open in June 2020 and get back to connecting people with nature.
Today, Hodges remains positive about the future with the increase of vaccinations, his PPP funding, and the continued low likelihood of outdoor transmission of COVID-19. Now Adventure Out is doing better than ever and creating new ways to exercise outdoors.