Jun 26, 2015, 03:38 ET
BATESVILLE, Ark., June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Batesville, Arkansas, is a second home to Joseph and Kimberlee Thomas. That is why when they heard about the closing of the local frozen yogurt shop they frequented, the magazine publishers decided to open up their own yogurt store on historic Main Street in Batesville.
"After a few late-night discussions, we decided that we wanted to not only re-open the frozen yogurt treat shop, but we wanted to move it to historic Main Street in Batesville," said Mrs. Thomas. "With all the new construction and life coming to Main Street, we felt like it was the perfect location to open Batesville's exclusive self-serve frozen yogurt, gelato, and Italian ice treat shop."
To fund the new business, the couple discussed financing options with their local banker, Herb Lawrence, vice president of Government Guaranty Lending at First Community Bank, a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas). Mr. Lawrence recommended they apply for a loan through the Economic Development Program (EDP) offered by FHLB Dallas.
"Joey and Kimberlee Thomas have been part of the small business community in Batesville for a number of years, strongly supporting area economic development," Mr. Lawrence said. "They are also successful owners of two area magazines and are excellent marketers and experienced in business operations. EDP was a logical opportunity to 'reward' these entrepreneurs."
In addition to a small business loan from Government Guaranty Lending, which was funded by an FHLB Dallas EDP advance, the couple also received a $10,000 EDPPlus grant from FHLB Dallas.
The couple also injected a significant amount of their own funding. "The EDPPlus grant program allowed them to double their initial investment and thereby reduce the amount of money they needed to borrow and increased their probability of success," Mr. Lawrence added.
FHLB Dallas awards noncompetitive EDPPlus grants through members, like First Community Bank, in conjunction with eligible EDP advances. The grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and are offered in conjunction with EDP advances. The program is designed to promote and enhance small-business development and job creation. In 2015, FHLB Dallas will make available $1 million in EDPPlus grants through its member institutions.
The EDP advance from FHLB Dallas paid for the renovations of the space and purchase of equipment and fixtures. The couple used the grant to assist with additional equipment costs including mirrors, freezers, and refrigerators.
Ms. Thomas said if they had not received the EDPPlus grant, the interior design of the shop would have been scaled way back, and they would not have been able to dress out the space in the same upscale fashion they had planned.
As part of the EDP program, the entrepreneurs also worked with Robert Bahn, lead business consultant with the Small Business and Technology Development Center at Arkansas State University, who assisted them with their business plan.
"I believe the FHLB EDP advance and EDPPlus grant program are both a great help to a lot of businesses that are just getting started or ones that are looking to expand," said Mr. Bahn. "The grant program enables a new business to purchase more inventory or buy equipment that will help the business generate more income."
Greg Hettrick, vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas has seen how the EDP program is crucial for many small businesses.
"Starting a business is costly and the EDP advance and EDPPlus grant provide small business start-ups an added boost that can make all the difference," said Mr. Hettrick.
Mrs. Thomas is excited about their new business venture.
"Joseph and I are pleased to be a part of the progress that is not only Main Street but Batesville and Independence County," said Ms. Thomas. "We invite everyone to come visit us at The Chill Factory and discover your inner child."
About First Community Bank
First Community Bank, which is locally owned and managed, opened on August 4, 1997, in Batesville, Arkansas and currently operates 16 full-service branches in Arkansas and Missouri, and a mortgage origination office in Craighead County, Arkansas. First Community employs 278 professional bankers and now reports assets of more than $988 million. Over the past 12 months, First Community Bank business customers have received $92,950 from the EDP advance and EDPPlus grant programs.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $36.9 billion as of March 31, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 865 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit fhlb.com.
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
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SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
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