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Area companies take advantage of federal stimulus loans

By ALLISON MILES
April 28, 2010 at 7:04 p.m.
Updated April 27, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.


\nWho received federal stimulus loans

Victoria County businesses that received federal stimulus loans:

Crossroads Animal Hospital$375,000

Program to aid small businesses unable to obtain financing Note: the hospital was listed twice on the website, but the Advocate was unable to confirm if they received financing twice or if it was a duplication.

Multiple recipients$176,000

Farm operating loans

Felton Online Trading Inc.$35,000

Program to aid small businesses unable to obtain financing

Van's Wood Turned Writing Instruments Inc.$10,000

Loan guarantee

Unique Water and Energy Inc.$7,500

Program to aid small businesses unable to obtain financing

Inspiring Scents and Gifts$7,500

Program to aid small businesses unable to obtain financing

Source: ProPublica.org

Corporate bail-out programs might have made the major headlines when it came to last year's federal stimulus program, but the Crossroads region also played its role.

Victoria businesses brought in $986,000 in stimulus loans total, according to data from ProPublica.org.

The nation's economy was in a bad place a year or so ago and needed a way to "prime the pump," said Ray Perryman, economist and president of The Perryman Group in Waco. Some aspects of the stimulus package - such as those that helped small businesses - did that, while others didn't.

"When you want to start talking about creating jobs and having an impact on the economy, small businesses are a good place to start," he said.

The University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center often works with companies on business plans, loans and the like. It helped several local businesses with the Small Business Administration loan guarantees associated with the program, said Joe Humphreys, the organization's associate director.

The program featured "favorable loans" with no payment due for 12 months and little to no interest, he said, explaining it was geared specifically to help businesses weather the current downturn.

It was handled mainly through loan guarantees, Humphreys said, explaining money didn't come from the Small Business Administration, but from different banks.

Representatives from Van's Wood Turned Writing Instruments received $10,000 in loan guarantees but didn't realize the money they took out to help with business start-up costs was considered part of the stimulus plan.

Felton Online Trading, Inc. took out a $35,000 loan guarantee in July but, like Van's, didn't realize it was considered stimulus money, said Beverly Felton, who co-owns the company with her husband, Roger Felton. The company teaches online stock trading to people worldwide.

They got it to help out with trade shows and the like. And, although they haven't really used it yet, they said it's nice to have it on hand, just in case.

"Times are slow for everybody," she said.

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