Congressman Henry Cuellar and the USDA used two examples today to showcase a program that reveals not only the need but the availability of economic resources in the valley.
Fernando Peña’s supermarket in Roma, and Juan Andrade’s restaurant in Rio Grande City share something in common. Today, they both received federal funds in the form of loans to better their business.
“It’s a way that we can get in a partnership with the private sector to do business development and do job creation. “I want to see more small businesses because those create 3/4 of all the jobs that we have here,” said Henry Cuellar, Texas Congressman (D-28)
Such programs have contributed to more than 8 billion dollars for Texas in the last 5 years affecting multiple sectors of the state’s economy.
“USDA is a funding source and we want to make sure we make those tools available to be able to spur rural economic growth. So certainly those tools are available through direct loans and loan guarantees as we’ve done here today,” explains Paco Valentin, Dir. Economic Development Director.
This has benefited Peña who today received 26 thousand dollars for a project of 124 thousand to upgrade energy systems at Riverview Supermarket and cut his electric bill in half.
“There is an indirect benefit that we’re helping the environment by getting rid of the mercury of the lighting systems and at the same time by helping us provide a better service to the community by having foods available to small communities like Roma at supermarket savings,” says Fernando Peña, Manager, CR Peña Enterprises
With a guaranteed loan of a half million dollars, Andrade has seen his dream come to fruition after a decade. A restaurant that now employs over 25 people.
“It was at a time that a lot of the banks had gone down and the economy was in shambles, so banks were just not lending money unless they had some kind of guarantee. That where USDA program comes in.”
The USDA representative invites whoever wishes to receive one of these loans to call their respective county office.