Loans Get Cheaper for Clearfield Co. Businesses Looking to Expand, Renovate

CLEARFIELD – For Clearfield County businesses looking to expand or renovate, loans have gotten a bit cheaper.

At their recent meeting, the Clearfield County Industrial Development Authority approved a “drastic” reduction in their interest rates for commercial loans, according to Rob Swales, chief executive officer of Clearly Ahead Development.

Previously the rate was the prime lending rate, which is currently 4.5 percent, he explained. The group lowered that to a fixed rate of 3.25 percent to help local businesses.

“We’d like to get more money circulating among the local businesses,” Swales said.

The loans of up to $100,000 can be used for any manufacturing, industrial, commercial or warehousing companies located in Clearfield County.

Possible uses include purchasing real estate, new construction, renovations, the replacement of machinery and working capital. Terms on the loans will vary with the type of use. Businesses must contribute 10 percent of the money to the project themselves.

This is an ongoing loan program that has been lending out money since the 1960’s, Swales said. Currently 14 different businesses are utilizing the program.

Local manufacturers have used these funds to purchase new equipment, to expand or renovate and other efforts to help them grow.

One of the businesses that has benefited from the loan program is KMA Remarketing in DuBois.

Although their loan did not involve expanding the business, it did allow the company to improve their building and upgrade their computers/servers, according to Dana Smith, chief executive officer and president of KMA Remarketing.

This helped them fulfill both of their needs and to keep all their jobs here.

“It was a fairly easy process to go through,” he said. “They also gave us lots of advice and provided counseling. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

KMA Remarketing buys used medical equipment and restores it for sale. They have liquidated over 25 hospitals in the United States and do business worldwide. Currently they have 29 employees.

Nick Ince, president of Walker Lumber Company in Woodland, is another business that has taken advantage of the loan program.

“We used the loans for two projects, which helped us quite a lot,” Ince said.

They replaced a boiler and installed a laser scanner at a sawmill with the funds.

“This allowed us to improve our productivity, reduce costs and to increase the number of employees,” he stated.

During the past few years the company has grown from 45 to 75 employees.

Ince also has benefited from his relationship with Clearly Ahead Development.

They have put Walker Lumber in touch with “different people that can help us,” Ince said and have provided beneficial training programs.

The process of applying for a loan is similar to those of the local banks with over three years of financial records submitted with the application. Depending on the project, it should also include sales agreements, proposals and a business plan.

This money can be available fairly quickly. “We can have a 30- to 45-day turn-around time,” Swales said.

Anyone interested in applying for one of these loans can contact Swales (rswales@clearlyahead.com) or Paul McCloskey, vice president of energy & business development (pmccloskey@clearlyahead.com) or call Clearly Ahead at 814-768-7838.

Additional information is available on their Web site clearlyahead.com.

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