Nicole O’Brien is a maker and a military spouse who started a new mission a few years ago: creating artisan, hand-crafted license plate gifts that represent the unique, nomadic nature of a military family’s journey. What started as a one-off gift for a friend became a thriving business that is dedicated to giving back to military veterans and their families. Today, Unique Pl8z has evolved in its mission to empower and encourage U.S. veterans and military spouses through employment.
When the company’s orders slowed down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Brien and her business partner/husband were not just concerned about their one full-time and two part-time employees. Unique Pl8z also operates a maker space and retail marketplace with more than 60 vendors, all of whom are military veterans and spouses. Additional veterans and spouses work as contractors for the company.
Getting a PPP loan from CRF ensured that O’Brien, her employees and her vendors were retained during the Rhode Island state shutdown order. Now that the retail space has re-opened and orders are increasing, Unique Pl8z can continue to serve its customers, employees and mission.