North Georgia small businesses are benefiting from President Obama’s small business stimulus in Cleveland, GA.

Israel Greene, COO of American Installation Corporation, Inc. plans to expand manufacturing of energy-efficient exterior doors, adding up to three new staff to his current workforce of five. AIC Maria Greene – Israel’s mother and owner of The Mill – is ramping up to add an employee due to growing demand at her organic coffee shop, bakery and bulk herb business.  Both are benefiting from Georgia Green Loans, a program of Appalachian Community Enterprises, Inc. (ACE).

Georgia Green Loans was founded to help businesses green-ovate; either create or expand an eco-friendly product/service or “green” existing business processes. Israel’s loan qualifies on two fronts–his doors save energy and he will increase manufacturing efficiency with new equipment. The sale of organic coffee and herbs qualifies Maria’s business as green. Maria is a 30-year herbalist who also offers classes and herbal walks to teach the ancient art.

“Every component of our metal and glass doors is American made,” Israel says.  “No one else is building these doors in the U.S.” Israel’s company started as a door and window installation business in 2007, serving mainly distributors. Sensing an opportunity last fall when a door manufacturing company folded, the White County entrepreneur expanded his Cleveland facility. AssemblyUsing American steel to customize his door frames and scrollwork, Israel insulates with eco-friendly foam, installing efficient argon-filled glass into the frames. The doors retail from $7,000 to $9.000 and are available through distributors such as Abby Iron Door and Scardino Doors LLC.

“The loan will help me speed up production tremendously,” explains Israel. “We are also moving to a larger space. Orders have really picked up over the last couple of weeks.” Israel cites his web-based order tracking and communication system as one reason for his company’s success. Other factors, he says, are his commitment to quality products and services, along with the American-made promise.

ACE is a 501c3 and U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution founded by Grace Fricks, President and CEO. Since 1999, ACE has made $3.5 million in loans representing 400 new or retained jobs in North Georgia.

“As President Obama has explained, small businesses are a key part of economic recovery,” says Fricks.  “70% of new jobs come from small businesses. Entrepreneurs like the Greenes are making a difference in their local communities providing livelihoods for others. Their commitment also benefits our environment and represents real innovation.”

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Grace Fricks, CEO & President
Sandy Headley, Vice President of Lending
Appalachian Community Enterprises, Inc.
3173 Highway 129 North
Cleveland, GA

Israel Greene, COO
American Installation Corporation, Inc.
139 Lookout Ridge Road
Cleveland, GA

Maria Greene
The Mill
Highway 129
Cleveland, GA

– Elizabeth Penney