SC Community Loan Fund helping small business owners

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - “I build custom doors and do custom millwork. I’ve been on my own for 22 years now,” Bill Hussey said.

And after years of paying rent to someone else, Bill Hussey and his wife decided it was time to carve out a place of their own with the Workshops at Howard Heights in North Charleston.

“We are about 9,400 square feet total,” Hussey said.

The warehouse, which opened in May, features more than a dozen individual work spaces for others wanting to start their own business or who needed more space outside their homes for their wood or craft passion.

“We have 'em ranging from a lemonade stand, to a knife maker, to a full time fireman that is trying to do a furniture business on the side, to a couple of graphic artists.” Hussey said.

Not only is the building a unique concept in achieving the American dream, but even the money that made it happen, came from an unusual source, the South Carolina Community Loan Fund.

“We have loaned over 45 million dollars for community development projects and so we are very proud of the work we have done. We are on track to loan more than $8 million dollars this year,” said Anna Lewin, COO of the South Carolina Community Fund.

And the Loan Fund is on a mission to finance more projects like these, designed to create jobs locally, and help others like Christina Bailey.

“I just was laid off from my previous job and there was a good opportunity for me to get back into doing freelance graphic design and I decided to start this business,” Bailey said.

The rent is just a couple of hundred dollars a month, and some people even share spaces, making it even more affordable.

Hussey and his wife have taken this concept to a whole new level. You don’t even have to rent here long term.

He had one person who needed some space to paint some kitchen cabinets for a few days, and then over the summer, two bands an upstairs area to practice because it was a great place to rehearse.

Hussey says others looking to build their dreams, should put the Community Loan Fund in their blueprint for success.

The SC Community Loan Fund helps new and growing business owners who might not get a loan from a bank.

It’s made loans to minority and women businesses, as well as non-profits. When the loans are repaid, that money is made available to others looking to start a business.

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