Persistence Makes Way for a Neighborhood Grocery Store
Elijah Craig, LLC Principal Tim Waters at the Dargan Street Innovation Center in Florence, SC.

The North Dargan Street and Darlington Street corridor, a neighborhood in Florence, SC, is deemed "blighted" by city officials. It is also located in a food desert, meaning residents lack access to fresh and nutritious foods. Tim Waters, owner of Elijah Craig, LLC and a lifelong resident of the neighborhood, wanted to help his community by bringing a full service grocery store to the area.

Despite numerous rejections from lenders, Tim refused to give up his dream of a community-centered grocery store. He attended a SCCLF loan application workshop and later enrolled in Feeding Innovation, a SCCLF program for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to increase healthy food access in their communities. "The lending team at SCCLF encouraged me, and so I surrounded myself with experts," says Tim. "I wanted to be sure I knew the business, and I wanted to show that I'm willing to do the work." Tim worked tirelessly to refine his business plan throughout the Feeding Innovation program and immersed himself in the grocery business, even taking a third shift job unloading trucks at a local grocery store.

His determination to bring the project to market gained support from the City of Florence, which provided Tim with a $300,000 incentive package as part of their downtown redevelopment strategy. With the city's support and thanks to Tim's efforts, he entered into a partnership with Save-A-Lot and secured the $500,000 in financing he needed to finish his project through SCCLF. 

Because of Tim's persistence, families in the North Dargan Street community will finally have the ability to purchase fresh, healthy food in their neighborhood. The Elijah Craig, LLC Save-A-Lot will initially create 20 new jobs for community members, 12 of which will be full time. The number of employees will increase to 30 as the store grows. Further, a neighborhood currently defined by the city as blighted will have a revitalization effort led in part by a lifelong resident with a vision of community change. "I see the store as building up the community in a healthy way," Tim says. "I want it to be a beacon for healthy change."

SCCLF has now provided 10 healthy food loans totaling over $9.1 million in financing. Visit our website to learn more about our healthy food lending program.
Lighting the Way Award

We are honored to receive this year's Lighting the Way award in recognition of our efforts to deploy capital in underserved areas and build the financial strength of South Carolina communities. 
Notes From the Lending Team

Chief Lending Officer, Patrick King, has retired from the organization and James Chatfield, formerly our Midlands Community Development Loan Officer has assumed the role of Lending Director. The link above also contains more information on how to apply for the new Coastal Community Development Loan Officer position. 
Food Access Summit Roundup

This month, we hosted the third annual SC Food Access Summit in Columbia. In the link above, we recap our takeaways from this annual gathering of healthy food access advocates from across the state. 
Blueprint for Health

Rural South Carolina communities are invited to apply for an 18-month Blueprint for Health development project that is focused on addressing social determinants of health. Applications are due November 17, 2017.

Since 2004, we have provided 313 loans for $39 million in financing that facilitated more than $246.3 million in community development projects; we financed 1,410 housing units,  9 healthy food outlets, 10 community facilities, and 16 community businesses, creating or retaining 2,896 jobs and providing a safe, affordable place to call home for 3,525 individuals and families.