A new business in downtown Hendricks is making use of our Microenterprise
Loan Program, building on a regional trend of small, boutique stores. “Boutiques have that nostalgic, vintage feel about them,” says Southwest Initiative Foundation Program Officer Jackie Turner-Lovsness.
Owned by Ashley Drietz, Charm features home décor, custom signs, gifts, consignor handmade items, accessories, repurposed furniture and boutique-style clothing. Ashley got her start creating specialty signs, using social media and word-of-mouth as marketing tools. As sales increased, Ashley decided to open a shop coupled with her other interests in home décor and boutique clothing.
“Hendricks supports their own,” Jackie said of the success small enterprises have had in Hendricks. “They support their local businesses.” SWIF provided past support for Wagner Chiropractic located in the same community.
Since 2001, SWIF has closed on more than 350 loans for regional southwest Minnesota businesses. Our current portfolio includes 85 loans totaling more than $1 million. The average loan size is $12,400, with SWIF closing on $26,500 in loans just last month. Many microloan inquiries we field come from lenders and word of mouth.
The microloan program emphasizes business planning and post-loan technical assistance to the loan recipients. Anyone considering starting, or expanding, a business in the region is encouraged to visit the Center of Rural Entrepreneurship (CORE) website. CORE provides educational and resource tools for entrepreneurs at any stage. Once loans are approved the microloan team begins its technical assistance with free QuickBooks training and small business management and marketing assistance, Jackie explained. “We’re like a built-in business consultant,” she said, adding that SWIF provides small businesses with resources and tools throughout the life of the loan.