Congressman Steve Womack joins Bank of Gravett and FHLB Dallas in presenting Small Business Development Grant
BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS, March 28, 2016 — When demand was exceeding supply, Joe Conway, owner of Arkansas Sign and Banner, took it as a sign that something had to change. Thanks in part to a loan from Bank of Gravett that was funded by an Economic Development Program (EDP) advance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), and an accompanying $19,369 EDPPlus grant, Arkansas Sign and Banner is expanding. The loan assisted in the purchase of a 60-foot boom truck. The grant funds were used for acquiring equipment, hiring an additional staff member to maintain and operate the vehicle, and marketing efforts.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-District 3), Arkansas State Representative Jim Dotson (District 93), Bentonville Mayor Bob McCaslin, and Kathryn Gough, field representative for U.S. Senator John Boozman, joined representatives from Bank of Gravett and FHLB Dallas today at an event celebrating the grant to the small business. Congressman Womack says the EDPPlus grant not only impacts Arkansas Sign and Banner, but the economic landscape of northwest Arkansas, as well.
"Great things happen when institutions work together toward a common goal, and Arkansas Sign and Banner is undoubtedly deserving," said Congressman Womack. "Thanks to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and Bank of Gravett, grant programs like the Economic Development ProgramPlus exist and serve as a catalyst for businesses across northwest Arkansas to expand and contribute to our region's economy."
Representative Dotson expressed his gratitude for programs such as the EDP for helping bring growth to the area.
"I'd like to extend my congratulations to Joe and Cindy Conway on the success of their business," said Representative Dotson. "I am thankful for programs, such as the EDP and EDPPlus grant, as they support small businesses and the local economy."
According to Mr. Conway, Arkansas Sign and Banner, which has been in business almost eight years, started off as a sign company with one vehicle. Now five vehicles strong, the growing sign and banner company can cover more ground in northwest Arkansas, a stark change from when the business first started in 2008.
"When the recession first hit, business slowed down. We had to fight like everyone else to stay in business," reflected Mr. Conway.
As many businesses during that time, Mr. Conway and his wife, Cindy, who co-owns Arkansas Sign and Banner, had to set their business apart from competitors.
"We knew the bad times weren't going to last forever," said Mr. Conway. "We just made sure that we always got the job done on time and delivered the best work possible. I don't know anyone who out-works us."
Bank of Gravett Market President and Chief Lending Officer James L. Smith, who introduced the EDP advance and grant program to Mr. and Mrs. Conway, can attest to their work ethic.
"Attention to detail and a quality finished product is important to owners, Joe and Cindy," he said.
Although Bentonville is a small town, it is unique in that it is home to global retailers such as Walmart, and the Tyson Foods headquarters is located in nearby Springdale. "Having competent and professional services like Arkansas Sign and Banner in our city allows this community to meet the high standards required by large, sophisticated corporations," said Mr. Smith.
Noncompetitive EDPPlus grants are awarded in conjunction with EDP advances through FHLB Dallas members, like Bank of Gravett. The grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small business development and job creation. The purchase of a service vehicle will create one job and potentially more in the future, as it will allow the business to operate more efficiently and eventually expand the business.
Mr. Smith, who worked directly with Mr. and Mrs. Conway during the grant application process, believes that the expansion of Arkansas Sign and Banner will positively impact the local economy, thanks in part to the EDPPlus grant program. "Bank of Gravett is benefited by a stronger economic base that is assisted by the EDPPlus grant program. As a community bank, we strive to create customized approaches and solutions that work for local business owners like Mr. and Mrs. Conway."
In 2015, FHLB Dallas made $1 million available for EDPPlus grants, assisting 50 small businesses in the Bank's five-state District of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. FHLB Dallas has made another $1 million in EDPPlus funding available this year.
Gustavo Molina, SVP and chief banking operations officer at FHLB Dallas, said the EDP advance and grant program promote economic development activities, positively impacting the community.
"EDPPlus was created for businesses like Arkansas Sign and Banner," said Mr. Molina. "It is our honor to partner with Bank of Gravett in helping this business prosper and continue stimulating the local economy."
About Bank of Gravett
Bank of Gravett is committed to providing customers with exceptional service and helping customers find solutions to all their financial needs. Offering a wide range of financing options, including adjustable rate mortgages, Bank of Gravett operates in four locations across Northwest Arkansas. For more information, visit bankofgravett.net.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
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 $42.1 billion as of December 31, 2015, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 850 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. Visit fhlb.com for more information.