Georgia Green Loans
Dee Brewer and David Jockusch, owners of Purple Mountain Natural Foods, are planning to expand their business thanks to a Green Loan from Appalachian Community Enterprises. The owners were connected with ACE thanks to a customer that wanted to see Purple Mountain expand its offerings. Purple Mountain offers a wide variety of bulk foods, local organic products, and other natural goods. Visit Purple Mountain Natural Foods or call 706-232-2706 for more information. Or stop by the store at 504 East First Avenue.
Once named among the Top Fifty Entrepreneurs in Atlanta by Catalyst Magazine, Atlanta Architect Johnna Barrett is the principal of Barrett Design, Inc and learned about Georgia Green Loans at the GoGreen Expo held in late June. She approached Georgia Green Loans for working capital requirements as she expands her company.
She has created SUSTAIN, a residential division of Barrett Design Inc., to focus on designing a series of sustainable homes for the Southeast Region.
Johnna stated, “Our goal is to show that sustainable design is beautiful and cost effective, and we make it easy for the average consumer as well as developers to go green.” Her objective is to start a new trend in home construction with carefully thought out and detailed home designs that are energy efficient and respond well to the natural environment by incorporating cool roof technology or green roofs, solar paneling, much more.
Barrett Design is a full-service interior design and architecture firm specializing in commercial office buildings, retail centers, multifamily housing, residential, spas and wellness facilities, resort and hospitality developments, nightclubs and entertainment venues, restaurants and interiors. The website for SUSTAIN will go live Aug 15.
Wayne Seabolt, a resident of Roopville, started Natural Growth, a company that uses animal waste to make compost. One of Natural Growth’s most popular products is Pachy Poo, compost made from waste collected from the elephants at Zoo Atlanta. According to Mr. Seabolt, the composting process removes impurities from the material, allowing the nutrients to be returned to the soil without risking contaminating the ground. For more information, call Wayne at 770-854-8107.
Green is not the first color one notices upon arrival at Georgia Mountain Berry Farms in Eastanollee; red is. Acres and acres of Georgia’s famous red clay. In the middle of it all, on a gently rising hill, Arthur Thomas is having a (green) building erected – the headquarters of his blackberry farming operations.
Started in 2008 with a loan from ACE (already paid off), the enterprise is gearing up for expansion in the coming years. There is, on this 45-acre property, plenty of room for it. Blackberries may be complemented by blueberries; beans, corn, tomatoes and okra will be there as well. But it’s the blackberries that are the main focus.
Last year, with newly installed plants, the farm yielded close to 40 gallons of the sweet, dark fruit. This year, there will be much more. Thomas showed a visitor around the other week, just as the plants began to leaf out, and mentioned the three forms of business a farm such as his can pursue: PYO (pick your own, as has been popular around the state with strawberries, blueberries and even Christmas trees), packaging for the wholesale market, and in an “added value” model (e.g. jams and jellies). Thomas is making plans for the wholesale market.
Georgia Mountain Berry Farms currently has three part-timers working alongside Thomas (“my grandson and two high school buddies of his”, he explains), but the idea is to eventually have an operation that employs 15 to 20 local people. “This area used to be all textile,” he mentions, and adds that it can become an “agricultural force” in Northeast Georgia. “The people here are hard-working, energetic and smart,” he tells his visitor, “and all we need is opportunity. His vision reaches far beyond the blackberries, the 45 acres and the red clay hills, going to a “Georgia Grown / Georgia Made” co-op of furniture makers, agricultural growers and producers of added-value products.
For now, though, he tends his blackberry orchards, accompanied by one or more of the four cats that are part of the staff. “Mice love blackberry roots,” he explains, “and nothing works better against them than cats.”
Arthur Thomas, Georgia Mountain Berry Farms, Eastanollee, GA, 706-491-6851
“ACE’s green loan allowed us to buy equipment for backflow prevention services. Without this loan, we could not have done this and our customers would face non-compliance citations.” Tammy Alexander
Alexander Plumbing and Backflow Service, LLC, in addition to offering its customers the services of a Georgia Master Plumber, is also a state certified provider of backflow prevention products and services – one of only 100 to 150 in Georgia to have earned this distinction.
Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division have mandated compliance with the Safe drinking Water Act through the installation and maintenance of backflow prevention equipment. Back pressure and back siphonage can introduce waste water into the clean water supply. The regulation applies to industries ranging from car washes to manufacturing to restaurants. Business permits are not issued until companies install and test equipment. After installation and inspection, the Alexanders provide the necessary certificates of compliance.
The Alexanders are using ACE’s $35,000 loan to purchase parts for their company’s backflow prevention services. Tammy acts as the company’s dispatcher and bookkeeper, and her husband focuses on meeting customer needs in the field. Alexander Plumbing and Backflow Service, LLC, located in Whitesburg (Carroll County) faces its new business opportunities with optimism.