USDA officials present grant, loan guarantee

Thursday, October 5, 2006

USDA Rural Development was busy in Barry County on Monday, first presenting the City of Wheaton with a $15,600 grant check and then providing the First State Bank in Cassville with a $1,450,000 loan guarantee.

Wheaton will use the community facility grant funds to purchase a new police car.

"The Wheaton Police Department wishes to thank our legislative team and USDA Rural Development for providing the funding for the purchase of our new police car," said Police Chief Clint Clark. "This will provide us with safe and dependable transportation, allowing us to better serve the citizens of our community."

Wheaton Mayor David Harris also expressed his appreciation for the grant funding.

"The citizens depend on our police officers, whether on patrol or responding to emergency. Reliable equipment is important to the safety of both our officers and our community," said Harris. "The City of Wheaton wishes to extend thanks to all those involved with obtaining the grant."

Before presenting the check to Wheaton officials, representatives from the USDA made a stop in Cassville at the new Cassville True Value Hardware store located at the intersection of Highway 37 and Old Exeter Road.

The purpose of their trip was to deliver a loan note guarantee to First State Bank in the amount of $1,450,000 to guarantee a loan to TRIO Inc., d/b/a Cassville True Value Hardware. The local store is owned by Larry and Kathy Westpheling, of Cassville.

By participating in the USDA's Business and Industry Loan Program, the Westphelings were able to purchase the old Wal-Mart building and convert it into a hardware and home center. The business relocation created 10 new jobs and saved five existing jobs, according to a USDA press release distributed at the presentation ceremony on Monday morning.

The Westphelings expressed their thanks to all those involved in helping them secure the loan, which made their business expansion possible.

"The bank has enjoyed working with the owners of Cassville True Value Hardware in support of their business expansion, new jobs and economic growth for the area," said Landon Fletcher, vice president of First State Bank.

The new Cassville True Value store opened for business on June 5 and a grand opening was held on July 1. The 30,000-square-foot store features feed, lumber, Cinch clothing, tractor implement parts, a full rental department, a UPS station, housewares, sporting goods, lawn and garden products and hardware, plumbing and electrical products.

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