A steady stream of customers passes through Ardina Pierre’s office for counseling on ailments that include hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer.

She is a Registered Nurse and licensed nutritionist who draws from a large dispensary of supplements in her Hapeville business, Nature’s Own Herb Shop.

“My goal is to use my products and expertise to nourish and improve the overall health of this community,” she says.

When she began pursuing her long-term goals in 2011, Pierre approached several banks for funding.

“They were not welcoming at all despite my good credit record,” she says. “Then I heard about ACE.”

ACE performed an energy efficiency audit and provided her with a green loan to upgrade her insulated windows and freezers for sustainability. Better refrigeration allowed her to have a juice bar, which noticeably improved her bottom line. She also gave the exterior of her building a facelift. Our Healthy Food Financing Initiative enabled her to expand her inventory of supplements and fresh fare.

“I pay off one loan, and then I get another to keep growing,” says Pierre, who has three employees.

And she is not finished yet. She has moved from leasing her space to purchasing the shopping center, so she now presides over a valuable asset in one of the fastest-growing communities in the metro Atlanta area. “There’s a need around here for more housing,” she says. Pierre hopes to partner with the city to convert her property into a mixed-use development with condominiums.

She says she could not have made this progress without ACE.

“I love the openness and the friendliness of ACE and the way they help women entrepreneurs,” she says. “I feel comfortable showing them my books and getting their feedback. You get encouragement from them that you don’t enjoy from the big banks. ACE is like a big family. A family with a lot of grace.”

If you know a business interested in getting more information about an energy efficient loan from ACE, contact Sandy Headley at headley@aceloans.org or 678-916-8460.

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