WESTPORT – A business fixture in Decatur County since 1977, Westport Locker, has new owners and a new name: Sugar Rock Farms Meat Processing.
Jimmy and Rebekah Gardner purchased the land and building housing Westport Locker’s working, refrigeration and freezing facilities. The Gardners were assisted by a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program. Napoleon State Bank and Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation provided the 504 loan.
Indiana Statewide CDC works with local Indiana lenders to issue SBA 504 loans to help owners of expanding or startup small businesses buy real estate, buildings and equipment. SBA 504 loans can give small business owners long-term, fixed rate financing similar to commercial loan terms usually available only for large companies.
Sugar Rock Farms has eight full-time employees. The locker processes and stores locally raised beef and pork for customers in Decatur and surrounding counties. It also sells beef and pork products to the general public, whether or not they store meat at Sugar Rock’s facility. Sugar Rock is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
Gardner says, “The SBA 504 loan is a huge asset to us. The loan is fairly complicated, but Napoleon State Bank and Indiana Statewide CDC made it very easy. It was a pleasure working with experienced people who worked really hard for their clients.”
Matt Miller of Napoleon State Bank says, “The SBA 504 is a perfect fit for this particular project because Jimmy and Rebekah are relatively new to this type of business. The 504 SBA program allowed Jimmy and Rebekah relief from having to come up with a significantly higher down payment, while also providing a portion of the financing at a low, fixed rate.”
Gardner says Sugar Rock Farms Meat Processing is launching an expansion plan that includes upgraded equipment and delivery routes. Gardner says Sugar Rock stayed open during this year’s Pandemic shutdown, though business was slow. He says sales have increased in recent weeks as word spread that the Gardners — who are longtime local business people — own the locker.
“We are booked through October, 2021, and are very humble and grateful to the community for their support,” Gardner says.
Miller of Napoleon State Bank says, “Jimmy and Rebekah are local residents and business owners who have a good reputation and are dedicated to the Westport community. The new name, Sugar Rock Farms Meat Processing, signals a fresh start for this company.”
Indiana Statewide CDC (www.cambridgecapitalmgmt.com) has approved over $725 million of financing for more than 1,500 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving more than 27,000 jobs, and is the most prolific CDC in Indiana. These projects represent more than $1.8 billion in expansion financing for Indiana businesses.
Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says, “SBA 504 loans help small businesses grow because borrowing companies can put as little as 10 percent down and receive a low, fixed interest rate for as long as 25 years. The SBA guarantees bonds sold privately to finance a portion of the loan. With the guarantee, we can offer more favorable loan rates than generally available to small businesses.”
Napoleon State Bank (www.napoleonstatebank.com) was founded in 1903 in Napoleon, a town in Ripley County. Its 68 full-time and 17 part-time employees now provide a full line of banking and investment services through six locations in Ripley and Decatur counties.
Sugar Rock Farms Meat Processing, formerly Westport Locker, was established in 1977 and offers custom processing, storage and sale of locally raised beef and pork for customers in Decatur and surrounding counties. Sugar Rock Farms also sells pork and beef products to the general public.