Print
More News

Downtown Manufacturer Snags First WDI Microloan

By Jenny Callison, posted Apr 20, 2021
Craftspace officials gather with WDI leaders at the company's facility off Queen Street. (Photo by Jenny Callison)
A company that repurposes shipping containers is the recipient of Downtown Wilmington Inc.’s first microloan.
 
The $20,000, five-year loan will enable Craftspace to obtain modular building certification and purchase equipment that can move the units around in its manufacturing facility, according to chief operating officer Gregg Howell. The funds will be used in addition to the $50,000-plus the company hopes to raise through its current crowd-funding campaign.
 
“The money will be used for operations and infrastructure, meaning a lot of equipment,” CEO Bryan Kristof said Tuesday.
 
To keep costs down, making their units as affordable as possible, the Craftspace team is trying to minimize their use of subcontractors, doing much of the conversion work themselves.
 
WDI’s brand-new microloan program is tailor-made for young companies like Craftspace, said Holly Childs, president and CEO of Downtown Wilmington Inc. (WDI).

Instead of providing a few loans of about $100,000 each to downtown developers, the organization is tapping its fund of about $568,000 in federal block grant money to make as many as 30 $20,000 loans directly to business owners who are just getting started or need funds to recover from the pandemic. As loans are repaid, the money will be available for loans to other businesses.
 
“We have very flexible terms: the interest rate is three-quarters of prime, which right now is 2.44%. And there’s no payment for the first six months of the loan,” Childs said Tuesday. “So the loans are a bridge and a boost.”
 
WDI’s microloan partner is Raleigh-based Civic Federal Credit Union, which receives the one-page applications and does all the underwriting and loan decision work, she added.
 
Craftspace, launched in January 2020, is an ideal loan recipient in Childs’ view. It's a manufacturer and its principals already have a track record – Kristof and Howell were turning shipping containers into small homes and offices for several years before forming their enterprise – and they have plans and clients.
 
Projects range from backyard flex space units to cabins for summer camps and campgrounds, Kristof said.
 
The company also is located in not one but two downtown districts, so publicity surrounding its loan reinforces an expanded concept of downtown, Childs said.

Craftspace’s manufacturing facility has grown to occupy about 14,000 square feet inside the former Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in what is now known as Wilmington’s Soda Pop District, and its office is in the Cargo District’s co-working space at 1608 Queen St.

In fact, Kristof and Howell renovated the old shipping containers in the Cargo District complex.
 
Childs credits Dane Scalise, WDI’s chairman, with leading the organization to refocus on economic growth and development. The shift to microloans was part of that, as is the expansion of WDI’s definition of downtown to include much more than the central business district.
 
“My goal was to get WDI back to basics [of promoting economic growth and development],” Scalise said Tuesday. “Mobilizing this loan fund . . . that’s in our bailiwick. We want to make downtown more economically feasible and viable for everyone.”
 
For more information on the microloan program, email [email protected].
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Drewsmith copiersplus headshot

Printing In Color Doesn’t Have To Be A Luxury

Drew Smith - Copiers Plus
Dane

New Vaccine Tax Credit Available For Many Employers

Dane Scalise - GriffinEstep Benefit Group
Kellyerola headshot lcflc

Can I Get Hospice Care At Home During COVID-19?

Kelly Erola - Lower Cape Fear LifeCare

Trending News

Gas Shortage Reaches The Port City

Christina Haley O'Neal - May 11, 2021

In Downtown Wilmington, Live Oak Leases Space For New Small Business Center

Cece Nunn - May 11, 2021

Rx Restaurant And Bar Reopens With New Dining Space

Jessica Maurer - May 12, 2021

More Than 250 Apartments Proposed For Scotts Hill Site

Cece Nunn - May 12, 2021

Pending Home Sales Up 85% Over Last April

Cece Nunn - May 10, 2021

In The Current Issue

Meet The 2021 CEA Winners

While vastly different, what the 11 companies and organizations do have in common is being chosen by a panel of judges as CEA category winne...


Vantaca Fills HOA Industry Need

Vantaca was launched in 2017 and its platform is now used by 130 organizations, including management companies and HOAs representing 2 milli...


Gym App Does Some Of The Lifting

President and founder Albert Steed explained that the app came from years of working in software development while actively engaging in vari...

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100