Americus loan program attracts business - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Americus loan program attracts business

Nema Etheridge Nema Etheridge
Downtown Director Ben Andrews Downtown Director Ben Andrews
AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

To many in Americus, a more vibrant downtown is a good thing.

Cafe Campesino opened their new coffee shop downtown a couple weeks ago with a city loan fund. They encourage any business thinking about the move to make the move.

Cafe Campesino is brewing up hot drinks in a new spot, and customers are walking in the downtown location.

It's a place the company is happy to be. "We're very excited. It's so fun to see Americus from this point of view nowadays," said Nema Etheridge.

Construction started this summer on the West Lamar Street location, thanks largely to money from the city by way of a low interest loan. "The loan really gave us the capacity to reinvest in the community through different suppliers for us," said Etheridge.

Everything from the chairs to the woodwork is from local companies. The revolving door loan fund program is a way the city has attracted businesses to the downtown area for years.

There's still several hundred thousand dollars available, and the city wants to use it. "Being able to show we have a vibrant downtown with tourists coming through seeing that downtown that has shops full, really has a big impact," said Interim Downtown Director Ben Andrews.

The funds are meant to be a little extra money to push businesses over the top. It's not meant to be a primary funding tool.

"We prefer you have a primary lender like a bank or USDA or a group like that, and we do the extra little bit to get you over the hump," said Andrews.

Etheridge has a simple message for others thinking of moving downtown. "I would say let's do it. It's really exciting that the city is offering the revolving loan fund like that at a great interest rate," said Etheridge.

Andrews says there is one more company in the application process for the loan. If you're interested, you can apply in the downtown development offices at the municipal building.

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