PAMPA, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Raul Rios had a unique problem when he purchased the building that would eventually become Rivers Laundromat.
Having previously owned and operated a laundromat, Mr. Rios had professional-grade washers and dryers, but nowhere to use them in his new building, which had previously operated as a gas station and car lot.
A lack of funding, along with the premature birth of his son and the medical bills that ensued, meant Mr. Rios had to put his dream of opening Rivers Laundromat on hold until he and his wife Rita learned of a small business grant program that would help give him the boost he needed to get his business up and running.
With the help of a loan from FirstBank Southwest, which was funded by an Economic Development Program (EDP) advance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), Mr. Rios opened Rivers Laundromat in September 2016. He used the loan to install plumbing and electrical to accommodate the washers and dryers. An accompanying $7,500 Economic Development Program Plus (EDPPlus) grant was used to update interior lighting and signage.
Representatives from FirstBank Southwest, FHLB Dallas, and the Pampa Economic Development Corporation joined Mr. and Mrs. Rios at a check presentation and ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the laundromat’s location in southeast Pampa.
“We’re so thankful for the loan and grant,” said Mrs. Rios. “Without any other viable source of funding, we might not have been able to open the laundromat.”
Noncompetitive EDPPlus grants are awarded in conjunction with EDP advances through FHLB Dallas members, like FirstBank Southwest. The grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small business development and job creation. As a result of the grant, Rivers Laundromat was able to hire a full-time employee.
This was the first time Kim Hill, president of the Pampa market at FirstBank Southwest, had utilized the EDP advance and EDPPlus grant program. She learned of the program when long-time customers Mr. and Mrs. Rios approached her about it after they learned of the program through the Pampa Economic Development Corporation.
“We were just so excited to learn of the program,” said Ms. Hill. “Mr. and Mrs. Rios are not the only ones who can benefit from it. The EDP is another way for us to help our customers. Having a way to help a customer enhance a business where they might not have been able to do so otherwise is a great way to invest in the community.”
In 2016, FHLB Dallas awarded $1 million in EDPPlus grants in conjunction with EDP advances to 48 businesses in FHLB Dallas’ five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. Of this amount, nine grants were awarded in Texas for a total of $178,007.
“Not only is the EDP advance and grant program a great community investment tool, but also an excellent way for our members to add value to strengthen their relationships with their customers,” said Gustavo Molina, FHLB Dallas SVP and chief banking operations officer.
Mr. and Mrs. Rios consulted with David Dickerson, assistant director at West Texas A&M University Small Business Development Center, during the application process. He provided business consultation advice to the couple.
“Mr. and Mrs. Rios are business-savvy and know the needs of their market,” said Mr. Dickerson. “The laundromat will serve the community well and I am glad to have been able to help them obtain the funds they needed to get their business up and running.”
Ms. Hill said a little help can go a long way.
“$7,500 may not be a lot of money to some people, but it makes a world of difference for Mr. and Mrs. Rios,” said Ms. Hill. “It’s a blessing to them to receive funds like this and we would definitely use the program again.”
About FirstBank Southwest
It is the mission of FirstBank Southwest to be the preferred community bank in the greater Texas Panhandle by providing focused financial services for commercial customers and retail customers. FirstBank Southwest has nine banking center locations in Amarillo, Booker, Hereford, Pampa, and Perryton, Texas, offering services such as online banking, eStatements, 24/7 automated telephone banking, debit cards which serve as a check card and an ATM card, a mobile banking app, mobile bill pay, and mobile deposit. For more information, visit fbsw.com.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $58.4 billion as of September 30, 2016, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community investment by providing competitively priced loans and other credit products to approximately 850 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. For more information, visit fhlb.com.