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La Liga de Las Americas

La Perla is recipient of first loan through treasurer’s new program

Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz announced the creation of a $5 million small business loan program at a news conference on Thursday, August 9, 2007, at the site of the first recipient, La Perla.


The initiative is a public-private partnership between the Lucas County Treasurer’s office and local banks. Under the program, small businesses who commit to create or retain jobs in Lucas County will receive low-interest loans at up to three percent below market rates.

The loans will range between $25,000 and $150,000 and target Lucas County businesses that have fewer than 150 employees and net annual sales of not more than $5 million.

“As a group, small business is the largest single employer in Lucas County,” said Kapszukiewicz, noting that about two-thirds of the new jobs created in the United States over the past three years were created by small businesses. “This program gives a boost to the small business men and women who sacrifice so much of their own time and money to grow our local economy.”

Business men or women interested in obtaining a loan through this program should fill out an application at any local bank branch, just as they would for a typical loan.


Eight local banks will offer loans 3% below market

All eight local banks who have depository agreements with Lucas County have agreed to participate in the program. They are: Charter One, Fifth Third, First Federal, Huntington, KeyBank, National City, Signature, and the Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union.

Kapszukiewicz praised the role being played by the financial institutions, who will assume the risk on the loans so there is no risk to the taxpayers.

“Our local banks have shown real leadership in making this public-private partnership a reality,” Kapszukiewicz said. “As County Treasurer, the strength of our economy is of great importance to me, and I intend to work with community and business leaders to support entrepreneurship and create good jobs in Lucas County.”

La Perla is a recipient

The first recipient of a loan through the new program was La Perla, Inc., which secured its loan through Huntington Bank. La Perla is a 100 percent minority-owned business that has been operating as a for-profit company since 1984. It is the largest manufacturer of corn/maize/flour tortillas and a distributor of Mexican food products, based in Toledo, Ohio, but La Perla also distributes to all of Ohio, Michigan, Chicago, and additional surrounding states/cities within a 250 mile radius of Toledo.

With the assistance of this program, the company plans to add six additional employees for packaging and equipment operator positions over the next 12 months.

“It’s going to help us grow our business,” said Santiago Martínez, who owns La Perla. “It will help us get our financials straightened out.”

Kapszukiewicz said the new initiative is modeled after the state’s linked deposit program, and that he intends to set aside $5 million from the county’s investment portfolio to finance the loan pool. He said the loans will be up to two years in length and can be renewed once for a consecutive two-year time period.

“Mr. Martínez is precisely the kind of small businessman who stands to benefit from this initiative,” Kapszukiewicz said. “My goal as Treasurer is to safeguard taxpayer money and use the office’s financial resources to help move our community forward.

“Programs like this help ensure that our tax dollars work as hard as Lucas County citizens do,” he said.

Anyone with questions about the news small business loan program should call the Lucas County Treasurer’s office at 419-213-4303.





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