A couple more Van Buren County businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic have regained a bit of normalcy thanks to the county’s Economic Development Board and the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners.
The Van Buren County Economic Development Board, in conjunction with the Board of Commissioners, has distributed two new loans to help stabilize local small businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Last fall the board issued loans for 10 Van Buren County businesses to support job retention efforts following pandemic restrictions. The most recent round of loan approvals adds two more businesses to that roster, including Paw Paw-based Creative Catering Services.
On Tuesday, April 27th, Richard Godfrey, Chairman of the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners, met with the owners of Creative Catering Services and the Garden Griddle as they closed on their loan. The loan to Creative Catering Services will help support employee retention as they continue to recover from the impact that COVID-19 gathering restrictions had on their catering operations.
Sarah Cox, owner of Creative Catering Services, says, “We would normally cater 30 weddings in a year, but last year we only had three,” adding, “While the year 2020 definitely rocked our business, we are feeling optimistic and looking forward to a promising 2021.”
The County Revolving Loan Fund was established through a Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development over 20 years ago and is currently administered by Market Van Buren, the economic development organization for Van Buren County. The Revolving Loan Fund is an alternative financing mechanism for local businesses and municipalities. As loans and interest are paid, the funds return to the Revolving Loan Fund, which can then be reused to make additional loans throughout the community.
Richard Godfrey, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, says, “The Revolving Loan Fund is a great resource for businesses and local governments in Van Buren County,” and adds, “It is always a pleasure to meet the business owners supported by this program, and today was no exception.”
In the past, Revolving Loan Fund allocations have been focused on job creations and blight elimination within the county, but the focus of the fund shifted to job retention and business stabilization in the last year due to the impact COVID-19 had on local businesses.
Zach Morris, Executive Director of Market Van Buren, says, “We’ve had to shift our approach to loans as the pandemic has taken hold of our community,” and points out, “Although restrictions are being lifted now, it’s important to realize that the impact of a year of shutdowns and restrictions will be felt by business owners for years to come.”
The Revolving Loan Fund is a program available to businesses and municipalities based in Van Buren County. Those interested in learning more about the program, can contact Zach Morris, Executive Director of Market Van Buren at email@example.com.
In the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market, provided by Market Van Buren, are: (From left to right): Janice Kimble, Sarah Cox, and Zach Cox of Creative Catering Services; Commissioner Richard Godfrey of the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners; Zach Morris and Sarah Snoeyink of Market Van Buren.