Financing Business Opportunity  

July 2015
In This Issue
Client Spotlight
Program News
Business Leader Luncheons
SBA 504 Rate Update
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From the Executive Director



AEDC has long been known for financing business opportunity. And, while we remain committed to local businesses, we've also started to work on other projects that support community development. We've helped the Open Door Clinic and Sequoia Park Zoo, and now we're building trails. Sort of.  In reality we're providing a loan to the Humboldt Trails Council so THEY can build trails.


Supporting the construction of mountain bike trails may seem outside AEDC's purview, but if you take a closer look, it makes perfect sense.  Quality of life is a big factor on the North Coast and helps to drive economic development. Our beautiful outdoor environment is not just a draw for tourists, but for people who choose to make their home here.


There are many ways to support Economic Development on the North Coast and AEDC is proud to contribute to so many wonderful community projects.




Client Spotlight    


Humboldt Trails 



Volunteers and local consultants have been working hard to convert old logging roads to mountain bike and hiking trails in eastern Humboldt County and AEDC is playing a major role the effort. By providing a $100,000 loan to the Humboldt Trails Council, the local non-profit can take advantage of a $270,000 Environmental Enhancement Mitigation grant focused on building the trails off HWY 299.  "This is a great way for us to support a local community project," noted AEDC's Executive Director Ross Welch. "And because the grant has already been awarded, the risk is very small on our end."


The Lack's Creek Trails Project is tied to the Greenpoint sink, a retaining wall that CalTrans is constructing on Highway 299 that requires mandatory mitigation. That effort is decommissioning old logging roads on the west side of Lack's creek and the grant allows the Trails Council to expand the project to the east side of the creek and convert those old routes to trails. 


"The funds came as a reimbursement grant," explained Tom Phillips, Trails Council Board member and consultant on the project. "Without a chunk of money to start with, you can't access the grant funding. We could never have done the project without AEDC's help."


Phillips also credited local planning consultants Greenway Partners and Principal Kirk

Cohune, primary project managers, as key in moving the project forward.  So far volunteers have logged about 500 hours and completed 6 to 7 miles of trails. The project is slated to be completed next year.


"This feels like just the beginning," Phillips added. "We are feeling a momentum and believe the partnerships on this project will open other doors and give us the capacity to do something special. We also realize that if you want a young and active population you need outdoor actives. With hiking and biking trails, kayaking and more, Humboldt can offer it all.


More information on how to volunteer or donate, contact Tom Phillips at  [email protected] 



For more information about the Trails Council, please visit



AEDC Board  

Meet Board Member

Tina Susmilch 


AEDC's Board of Directors has been fortunate to have benefitted from Tina Susmilch's professional expertise since 2003. "I was asked to join to fill a vacant seat," Susmilch remembered. "Several of my co-workers at the time had been members of AEDC, so I was familiar with their vital role in our  community. I also thought my lending background would be useful.  I also have done bookkeeping, tax preparation and helped run a small business in the past and have drawn on those experiences at times as well."


Susmilch is a vice president commercial loan officer for Redwood Capital Bank in Eureka and has spent a majority of her years on the AEDC board chairing the loan committee .  "I must be doing a good job; either that or nobody else wants to do it," she joked.


The lifelong resident of Humboldt County said she 

especially appreciates AEDC's partnership with other lenders. "Banks can refer customers that don't quite meet bank guidelines to AEDC and banks utilize the services of AEDC to make SBA 504 loans.  It is imperative that AEDC keep their name in the forefront of their area/ partner bank's minds so we can all accomplish our mission,"she said.  

Susmilch was a member of Soroptimist International of Arcata for over 10 years and was on the City of Blue Lake Housing Rehabilitation Loan Committee for several years.




It is clear the culture of cannabis is changing when growers willingly state their occupation in public and proactively address current and looming issues.

The County of Humboldt Workforce Investment Board, AEDC, Humboldt State University's Office of Research, Economic and Community Development, the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, the City of Eureka and the City of Arcata recently hosted a Business Leader luncheon focused on cannabis farming in Humboldt.


"Residents, business owners and community leaders may have differing opinions about the cannabis industry," noted AEDC program Director Susan Seaman, "But there is no doubt we are all impacted and will continue to be. AEDC supports constructive opportunities to identify and discuss the issues and potential impacts of legalization on our economy."


Panelists included: Patrick Murphy, a fully-permitted farmer of cannabis, who is also the policy lead for California Cannabis Voice - Humboldt and has been deeply involved in crafting the outdoor and taxing ordinances; Terra Jo Carver, a farmer who leads the Women's Alliance of CCVH; Jessi Bergsma, a farmer from Washington state who has seen how policy has affected the industry and local economy; and Hollie Hall, of Holly Hall & Associates, who provides watershed resource management solutions and consulting. She is a third party consultant working with farmers and the environmental regulators to bring farms into compliance.


"The questions surrounding cannabis legalization have changed significantly in the last few years, from whether or not it should be legal to the more nuanced, policy planning discussions we're having today," said Seaman. "I think the high attendance rate at this first luncheon reflects the value people see in these discussions." 


Three more programs will be offered in the coming year. Topics will include retail and dispensaries in October, cannabis research and development in January; and what are the issues and opportunities around the Humboldt Brand in April."



For more information and 
to register for future luncheons, 
please visit


Partner News: City of Eureka Survey 

What should be developed on the property next to the Boardwalk? 


The City of Eureka wants your input!


Public Kickoff Meeting: Monday (7/27): 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wharfinger Building.

Hear a history of the site, site constraints, opportunities and a summary of the week's events. 


Public Site Tours Tuesday (7/28) 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Foot of C Street  Walk with the architects and city officials to learn about the site and to provide feedback. 

Design Workshops: Wharfinger Building

Wednesday (7/29) 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Thursday (7/30) 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 

Pick one of four workshops to work with professional architects to draw your vision of the site. 

Presentation of Final Concepts: Friday (7/31): 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wharfinger Building -- See a range of professional drawings reflecting the public's visions. 


* * *  


Identify Ways to Be More Business Friendly 


The City of Eureka wants to be more business friendly and is looking for input.


Please complete their survey (linked below) to help them identify ways to improve their systems and service.  


All responses must be received no later than Noon on August 7, 2015.

The survey can be found here.




SBA Commercial Property 504 rates


SBA Logo


SBA 504 Current
  • Low down payment for borrowers
  • Competitive fixed interest rate
  • Long Term loan
  • From $50,000 to $5 million for commercial real estate, construction and equipment acquisition.
Many commercial loans available on the market require a sizeable percentage down before the loan will be granted, and this can be an obstacle for many business owners looking to improve their facilities. The SBA 504 Loan offers a solution for that -- you can borrow up to 90% of your financing needs at a fixed rate, so only a minimum of 10% down is required.
The remainder is split between the SBA loan (40%) and a bank loan (50%), and the Arcata Economic Development Corporation will work with your bank to submit your loan application. Loan amounts range from $50,000 to $5 million, and some restrictions apply.  

Kelli Sterling

Loan Manager

(707) 822-4616  Ext 14

[email protected]

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We are proud of the variety of businesses we've served over the years at AEDC. We would love to include you in our family of success stories. 


Visit to get more information about AEDC loans, events and programs. 



Ross Welch
Executive Director
(707) 822-4616 ext. 11