E-community fund assists Peabody Market purchase

News editor

New Peabody Market owners Mike and Jadina Crow are up and running with changes ranging from new paint to new inventory.

“I’m a fixer-upper kind of a guy, so I have plenty of projects now,” Mike Crow said.

Some of those projects may draw on $10,000 the couple borrowed from a Marion-based loan fund administered through Marion Economic Development, Inc.

“It’s not really MEDI, it’s the Marion E-Community that we’re affiliated with,” MEDI president Todd Heitschmidt said. “The Marion E-Community is associated with NetWork Kansas.”

Marion and Hillsboro both participate in the statewide E-Community program, designed to help local communities support business growth. The ‘E’ stands for entrepreneurship.

One facet of the program is a revolving loan fund that provided assistance to the Crows.

“When we went out and raised our $125,000 four or five years ago, the money that came in was not just Marion donations,” Heitschmidt said. “That money came from various donors, individuals and companies, even some outside the county.”

Like any business interested in tapping an E-Community loan, the Crows first had to obtain financing for the project. E-Community loans are intended to be stopgap funds, Heitschmidt said.

Primary lenders for the purchase of Peabody Market are Peabody State Bank and South Central Kansas Economic Development District, Crow said.

“Everything else has to be approved,” he said. “I didn’t need a lot, so they just kind of filled the gap for working capital. It was a good interest rate, so I said, ‘Guys, that will help.’”

The Crows’ E-Community loan application was reviewed by a financial board separate from MEDI, Heitscmidt said.

While groups in Hillsboro and Marion administer the loan funds, loans are available to entrepreneurs around the county. The groups are working on boundary lines that will let people know which group to approach.

Marion’s financial board recognized the value of maintaining a grocery store in Peabody, Heitschmidt said.

“It’s a tough deal for a community when they lose one, and we can see where this has happened,” he said. “It’s important not only to the city of Peabody; this is important to Marion County. One big reason is sales tax revenue. If they can’t keep that coming in, that hurts all of us taxpayers. These jobs are important to the Peabody community and to the county.”

Several other businesses have been helped with E-Community loans, and all have been repaid, Heitschmidt said. However, funding isn’t automatic.

“We have turned down requests; that’s part of the loan process, to see if it meets all the criteria we look at,” he said.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2016