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- Located in a low-income community
- Local Poverty Rate: 21.4%
- 3 jobs created/retained
A disabled Desert Storm veteran was optimistic that his hard work had paid off as he prepared to open his Harley Davidson repair shop. But Kevin Edgmon says that when he went to find financing, bank after bank turned him down. How could this happen? He had done everything right.
In 2000, Kevin decided to pursue his passion for motorcycles by going to Arizona to train to be a certified Harley Davidson mechanic. He worked for the dealerships for twelve years, starting as a mechanic and moving up to spend seven years managing service departments. But, he was disheartened by the way dealerships treated their customers. He knew he could do better.
When he found out in 2010 that his status as a disabled American Veteran afforded him the opportunity to go to college and earn a bachelor's degree, he jumped at the chance. Attending school full-time, and waiting tables part-time, Kevin graduated in four years with a Bachelor's of Science in organization and innovation management.
"I talked to a number of banks about financing and no one gave me a chance even though I had my degree and years of experience," said Edgmon. "I almost gave up, thinking those four years were wasted and I wasn't going to be able to fulfill my dream." Then, one kind banker had suggested that Kevin contact Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), where he met Brian Burke. "When he called, I could tell Brian had done his research and really believed in me and what I wanted," said Kevin. "Everyone at CRF believed in me and without them my dream wouldn't have come true."
After an in-depth analysis of the loan request, CRF realized that Kevin was a determined veteran, with extensive experience and a detailed business plan, who wanted to open his business and create jobs in a low-income community. CRF provided Kevin with a $245,000 loan. Two years later, business was booming and Edgmon returned for a second loan for $243,000 to double his space and purchase more motorcycle lifts.