Grocery stores play a crucial role in our rural communities, providing vital sources of nutrition, jobs, and tax revenue that support the community, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. Moreover, rural grocery stores are also economic drivers, community builders and meeting places. However, rural grocery stores are rapidly disappearing, leaving small communities as food deserts. It is because of these facts that the Telluride Regional Loan Fund (TRLF) is excited to announce its first loan to Family Market in Naturita.
The TRLF was able to provide a loan to the Family Market to help the grocer fund repairs in the store. With the Tri-State Power & Generation Association’s coal power plant being fully decommissioned on September 9, 2019, it is even more critical and necessary that community staples such as the Family Market continue to stay in operation. Family Market has been the sole Naturita grocery store, located on Highway 145, since the 1980s. "Due to the mines closing, it’s critical for our business to stay in operation,” said Kim Hainey owner of Family Market.
Bonnie Watson has been administering the Telluride Regional Loan Fund since inception in January 2019.“Working with down to earth business owners like the Hainey’s assures me that we are deploying this money to the right people and they are using it to make significant impact in this rural community,” said Watson, “Business owners are receptive to you when you travel 50 miles to sit down and learn about their business --there is a great level of appreciation.”
Many rural communities are transitioning and with transition comes growth. But growth must be supported by flexible capital. The TRLF was created with an understanding of the pain points rural communities are facing and to better help communities meet their capital needs.
The TRLF is a $2 million operating working capital loan fund designed to support rural business startup, growth and job creation and retention in southwest Colorado. The TRLF is a joint initiative launched by Telluride Foundation and First Southwest Community Fund, with support from Zoma Foundation. It is a working capital fund designed to help companies with their day-to-day expenses. The purpose of the fund is to help uniquely rural and un-bankable businesses bridge the capital gap until they can become commercially bankable. Companies can qualify for $25,000 to $100,000 secured working capital loans at rates comparable to market rates. The fund was created in such a way as to help businesses transition smoothly from a bridge loan to commercial loan at market rates. Loans will be available in Ouray, Montrose, Dolores, San Miguel and San Juan counties. For more information about the Telluride Regional Loan Fund, contact Bonnie Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bonnie Watson