State treasurer announces loan for Joplin sign business
The Joplin GlobeSusan Redden
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
A state loan will help a Joplin business that has expanded as the community rebuilds after the May 22 tornado, Clint Zweifel, state treasurer, said Tuesday.
Zweifel came to Joplin to announce that Sign Designs had been awarded an $180,000 loan from the Missouri Linked Deposit program.
The firm, a full-service sign creation and installation company, got approval for the low-interest loan in 24 hours through the state’s Harmed-area Emergency Loan Priority (HELP) system. Small businesses and farmers in the Joplin area have been eligible for the quick loan approval since the May 22 tornado.
Zweifel joined John Hipple, Sign Designs owner, for the announcement at the company’s office at 1720 W. Seventh St.
“Sign Designs is receiving this emergency loan because it is critical to get investment into Joplin, and Sign Designs is committed to staying and keeping its 18 employees on board,” the treasurer said. “This loan saves John and his team $12,000 over the next five years. We are rewarding a strong local business that is working hard for his customers as they rebuild — including making temporary signage and helping dozens of customers repair or replace damaged signs.”
Zweifel noted that the firm had hired three more workers since the tornado, and that helping the growth of existing businesses is an important component of the state’s economic development effort.
“John exports products to Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, and keeps his employees in Missouri,” he said.
He said the loan frees up capital for Hipple to use elsewhere, adding “he can use it for investment, or cash flow or to pay taxes; it’s his decision.”
Zweifel said part of the reason for coming to Joplin to announce the loan was to get the word out to other businesses that the help is available. He also credited Commerce Bank for making the loan, adding “they’ve been a great partner for us.”
“This is something that can help, as Joplin rebuilds.”
Hipple said Commerce officials made the process “simple and painless.”
He said the loan will free up capital he can reinvest in his business, which has been kept busy since the tornado repairing and replacing signs that were damaged or installing signs for businesses that moved as a result of the tornado.
“We’ve been working a lot with businesses that have moved into temporary buildings; now, we’re shifting more to the long-term,” he said.
Jasper and Newton counties have received $6.4 million from 20 loans impacting nearly 130 jobs, including farm jobs, since January 2009, according to Zweifel’s office. Qualifying borrowers generally save 30 percent above the cost of a conventional loan. More than 690 loans have been approved statewide, impacting more than 11,250 jobs. Of that total, businesses and farms in Southwest Missouri received $82 million in loans, impacting nearly 1,300 jobs.
Since May 22
In the Joplin area since the May 22 tornado, the state has approved three loans totaling $1.5 million, all through the HELP system. That is among 37 loans totaling $13.5 million made in Southwest Missouri.