The Herald News, Monday, September 27, 2010 – Page B4


FALL RIVER — The Fall River Office of Economic Development has provided low interest loans to 15 local businesses totaling nearly $2 million this year, according to a recent press release from FROED officials.


Those loans are targeted to help retain 350 city jobs and create 62 new positions, reported Kenneth Fiola Jr., FROED executive vice president.


“Typically in a normal lending year we probably loan between $1.3 and $1.8 million,” Fiola said. The first eight months this year are indicative of a small turn in the economy and companies are now looking to reinvest.”


The businesses that received funds through the FROED loan programs include: Amaral’s Central Market, B.G.B.; LLC d/b/a Consolidated Thread Mills; Barcelos Bakery; Bell Garment Co., Inc.; Fall River Ford, Inc.; Famosa Hair Salon; Fitzgerald Insurance & Financial Services; Griffin Manufacturing Company, Inc.; HealthFirst Family Care Center, Inc.; Ledoux & Company, Inc.; Main St. Nat. Title & Closing Services, LLC; Northeast Food and Beverage LLC; Oliveira Construction, Inc.; Raw Seafoods Inc. and Red Velvet Florist Inc.


Mayor Will Flanagan, who chairs the private, nonprofit FROED board of trustees as the mayor, and businessman Alan Amaral, its president, said the impact of the long-standing loan program helps the city in multiple ways.


“Success of business here in the city is a key component to the development and prosperity of the city,” Flanagan said.


FROED’s services “not only benefit the businesses who utilize those but also the city as a whole through job retention and creation,” Flanagan said in a press statement issued by Lynn Creamer, FROED’s economic development coordinator hired earlier this year. Creamer also plays an economic development role to the mayor’s office.


Amaral said FROED continues to follow its mission since being established in 1978. That includes “promoting the prosperity and general welfare of the citizens of Fall River through the stimulation of economic strength and expansion of new and existing businesses.”


He cited financial assistance to local businesses and project management as two resources it provides.


He listed several long-term and ongoing development projects FROED has been involved with, including the Fall River Industrial Park, Commerce Park and eminent domain takings for Meditech and the University of Massachusetts Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center on Martine Street.


The City Council has asked Fiola and the administration to attend a Committee on Finance meeting and update the council on recent economic development projects.


Fiola said the information about the ongoing loan program was coincidental to that recent council request.


He said the addition this year of two staff persons to fill long-vacant positions will include providing quarterly updates on FROED programs.


The agency, housed at Government Center, lists $65 million in loans to more than 600 city businesses since its inception. The listed benefits have been retention and creation of 14,000 jobs over that 32-year period, the press release said.


Applicants for loans are asked to submit an application, financial statement and business plan to the FROED office.