The DNA and character of every small town and Main Street is made up of those one-of-a-kind, eclectic small businesses that occupy its downtown. The Borough of Kennett Square is no different, and their focus on attracting and maintaining small businesses is what makes the town unique and attracts visitors and residents alike to its historic business district.
“I envision Kennett similar to how it is now, but with more small business, more economic activity, more residents living downtown—continuing the great momentum we already have,” begins Nate Echeverria, the Economic Director for the Borough of Kennett Square. With the help of a new partnership with True Access Capital, his vision isn’t far off.
The Borough of Kennett, which has been very proactive in supporting small businesses, already offered a loan product for businesses needing $100,000 or more. Unfortunately, this product did not meet the needs of all the small businesses. “When we surveyed the small business community, they had a real need for small loan amounts,” says Echeverria.
The Community Growth Fund is a partnership between the Borough of Kennett and True Access Capital. The two came together to create a revolving loan fund that provides small loans (up to $50,000) to new or existing businesses located in Kennett Square. Along with access to capital, True Access Capital also provides technical assistance and business support to borrowers, a service that the Borough wasn’t equipped to provide. A primary focus of the Community Growth Fund will be the emerging Hispanic business community in the Borough.
Café de Thai was the first business to receive funding under the Community Growth Fund. Café de Thai is a new business and used the funding for leasehold improvements, equipment, and working capital.
Portabellos, an existing Kennett-based, restaurant, received a Small Business Administration-backed, Community Advantage loan from True Access Capital. The loan was used to relocate the restaurant. The relocation enabled Portabellos to increase its seating capacity from 55 to 180. Portabellos features new American cuisine with international overtones and draws its inspiration from products that are sourced from many Chester County growers as well as seafood from the mid-Atlantic region.
“We saw an opportunity to expand our mission and network in Kennett Square, and are very happy to have this partnership with the Borough,” said Vandell Hampton, Jr. “True Access Capital will help those business owners in Kennett Square that traditional banks often miss, and we are ready to help leverage and support the economic development activity in this new market.
The Community Growth Fund offers business loans up to $50,000 to new or existing Kennett Square-based businesses. Funds can be used for working capital, equipment, façade improvements, and more.