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Success Stories

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Gives Small Businesses a Boost with Revolving Loan Fund

July 2017


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For new entrepreneurs and growing small businesses looking to expand, getting a loan to do so can sometimes be challenging.

For small businesses in a 5-county region along the Oregon and Washington state border, the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) is there to help. MCEDD works to promote the creation of good paying jobs and the diversification of the region’s economic base and also administers EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program, which supplies small businesses and entrepreneurs with the gap financing needed to start or expand their business.

Since 1975, the MCEDD has helped local businesses grow throughout northern Oregon and southern Washington.

Below are a few recent successes small businesses in the region have seen:

Mountain Home Biological

Mountain Home Biological, a laboratory supply company based in Bingen, Washington, received a $100,000 RLF loan from MCEDD in 2005 that helped them scale-up operations to meet the rising demand for their products. With their expansion, the company has diversified its product line of educational laboratory equipment and supplies and their web presence has increased and is now reaching international markets. For more information on Mountain Home Biological, visit: www.pelletlab.com.

Woop!Wear

Woop!Wear is an alpaca clothing line based in Trout Lake, Washington. Gina Eisele is the sole owner and first discovered the unique qualities alpaca fiber in 2004. Its silky softness coupled with its ability to provide lightweight warmth, make it the perfect fiber for outdoor apparel.

Sales had been steadily growing so in 2012 Gina applied for a MCEDD loan to purchase more inventories to meet the growing demand. The MCEDD Loan Committee approved her loan of $25,000 to expand her business and hire new employees.

Woop!Wear purchases the alpaca fiber directly from Peru, designs the clothes, outsources the production and sells the outdoor apparel from office in Trout Lake to customers all over the United States. For more information about Woop!Wear, visit: www.woopwear.com.

Hood River Hobbies

In 2010, Eric and Tamiko Ruhlen purchased Hood River Hobbies with the intention of expanding its offerings and growing the business. Their goal was to create a hobby shop in the Gorge that met the needs of hobbyists of all ages.

In addition to providing everything from games to models to radio controlled airplanes to the tools you need to work on these projects, Eric and Tamiko also wanted to create a space for instruction on how to make models and remote control vehicles.

To help meet their vision, the pair reached out to MCEDD and acquired a $50,000 RLF loan to increase their inventory and expanded their special events division.

To learn more about Hood River Hobbies, visit: www.hoodriverhobbies.com.

To date, both Mountain Home Biological and Hood River Hobbies have successfully paid off their loans. Those dollars have gone back into the MCEDD’s RLF program to support other expanding small businesses in the region. To learn more about EDA’s RLF program, visit: www.eda.gov/RLF.

Tags: Economic Development Districts, Small Business Development/RLF