Historic building in downtown Greenwood transformed into contemporary retail space

Historic building in downtown Greenwood transformed into contemporary retail space

GREENWOOD, MS - This is a news release from Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

A historic building in downtown Greenwood, Mississippi, was transformed into a contemporary retail space, thanks in part to grant funding from Bank of Commerce and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas).

The building is now home to Howard & Marsh Exchange, a boutique vendor market specializing in a wide selection of home décor, accessories, antiques, art, bedding, and gifts. The business, which has been open for more than two years, focuses on stocking and selling unique items that are not easily found in a small town such as Greenwood.

The boutique's owner, Chris McQueen, was able to open the store with the help of a loan from Bank of Commerce that was funded by an Economic Development Program (EDP) advance from FHLB Dallas, and an accompanying $25,000 EDPPlus grant. Mr. McQueen used the loan to purchase the building and renovate it from the ground up. The grant was used to assist with initial start-up costs associated with opening a new business, including advertising, staffing, inventory, and building maintenance.

Mr. McQueen said that without the grant, he and his co-owners would not have been able to advertise as much or purchase as much inventory.
"We wouldn't be where we are today without the EDPPlus grant," he said. "In addition, Bank of Commerce is extremely easy to work with and helped us find new ways for our business to be successful. We enjoy doing business with our hometown bank."

Noncompetitive EDPPlus grants are awarded in conjunction with EDP advances through FHLB Dallas members, like Bank of Commerce. The grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small business development and job creation. As a result of the grant, Howard & Marsh Exchange was also able to hire a full-time store manager.

Zach Luke, senior vice president and CFO at Bank of Commerce, discussed the positive impact the EDP has had on the physical and economic landscape of Greenwood through enterprises such as Howard & Marsh.

"Howard & Marsh has contributed to our community through creation of jobs and enterprise. It has also beautified our downtown by rehabbing a vacant building that had become an eyesore," he said.

Mr. Luke also said FHLB Dallas' EDP advance and EDPPlus grant allow Bank of Commerce to provide additional funds at a lower cost for loan products that create jobs, commerce, and help the general financing needs of any small business in our community. "It allows a competitive advantage against larger regional banks," he said. "It gives us a leg up on the competition when we offer the EDP/EDPPlus opportunity to potential customers."

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.

Bre Chapman, EVP and chief administrative officer at FHLB Dallas, applauds Bank of Commerce's use of the EDP advance and grant program, which promotes economic development activities.

"We are proud to partner with Bank of Commerce to support this venture," said Ms. Chapman. "Revitalizing communities is one of the key objectives of the EDP advance and grant program, and we are happy to support our members through this program."