ECIDA and Erie County Executive Chris Collins Laud Initial Results of Business Stimulus Loan Fundby bokeefe
Travers Collins & Company
Erie County Executive's Office 716.858.8500
Buffalo, NY — A trio of Erie County businesses have seen growth spurts courtesy of a new Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) loan program which targets established companies that have difficulties obtaining traditional bank financing due to increasingly strict lending policies.
The Business Stimulus Loan Fund has provided more than $800,000 to three fast-growing Erie County firms since its establishment last fall, leading to expansion of their workforces and client rosters.
"Our mission to encourage investment and innovation by helping the growth of Erie County businesses fits right into ECIDA's support of HEI. We seek new ways to foster a successful business climate in the County and are happy to be able to assist this company grow and thrive in our area," said Al Culliton, chief operating officer, ECIDA.
"At a time when we want businesses expanding and creating jobs in our community, business owners are finding traditional bank financing harder to come by. We created the Business Stimulus Loan Fund at the ECIDA to help fill some of that gap, giving established local companies the financial support they need to grow and create economic opportunity in our community," said Erie County Executive
Chris Collins, an ECIDA board member, who pushed for creation of the targeted loan program.
Collins and Culliton witnessed fruits of the Business Stimulus Loan Fund first-hand today during a visit to HEI Recycling, Inc., located at 95 Dorothy St., in Buffalo. The five-year-old recycling venture, which specializes in plastics, as well as cardboard recycling, received a $300,000 loan through the program.
HEI, which got its check in April, has boosted its workforce from 24 to 31, and taken on new and expanded recycling contracts, according to its founder, Dennis Heuer Jr.
"What we needed was operating cash to grow and that's not something banks are comfortable with. It would have been different if we had wanted to buy a piece of equipment or building, but we needed funds to increase our ability to make money," Heuer said. "The ECIDA immediately recognized our potential and what we needed."
HEI, which operates in the 200,000-square-foot, former Westvaco paper company plant on the city's Lovejoy neighborhood, works mainly with local manufacturing companies to turn plastic industrial "leftovers" into reusable pellets. Its client list includes: Rich Products, Multisorb Technologies, Delphi and General Motors, often offering "closed loop" recycling where polymer scraps are returned to the manufacturer for reuse.
Armed with the extra cash it needed to purchase larger quantities of plastic and corrugated scrap materials and add employees, it also signed a contract with the City of Buffalo to recycle the municipality's damaged blue plastic garbage totes.
"As a City of Buffalo company we are pleased to keep this work local. We are also proud that 61 percent of our employees are minorities and women, and 35 percent are from this neighborhood. It's great to be a small, growing Buffalo business that is being recognized for its hard work," Heuer said.
The two other local companies aided by the Business Stimulus Loan Fund are:
- Advantage Industries, which operates as Willard Machine at 73 Forest Avenue, Buffalo; the precision machine shop received at $260,000 loan.
- TenEleven Group, Inc., a behavioral health software and IT company, which recently relocated from West Seneca to larger quarters at 6489 Transit Road, East Amherst.
For more information on how to apply for a Business Stimulus Loan Fund visit the ECIDA website at: www.ecidany.com and find details under Regional Development Corporation 'Loans' tab, or call 716-8566525.