JONESBORO, Ark., April 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Growing up in northeast Arkansas, Kevin Kidd never knew a good taco until he took a job as a security manager for Sony in Laredo, Texas, near the Mexico border.
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After 11 years in Laredo, and hosting meetings at the area's Mexican restaurants for people from all over the country, he noticed one common theme. "I had hosted visitors from Miami to New Jersey, and all they would talk about is the tacos," he said. "I've always loved to cook. I started thinking maybe we should take these tacos back to my home state. My wife and I experimented with various recipes, and I came to Arkansas and started talking to some developers and banks about the prospects of opening a taco restaurant."
It was two years in the making, and in September 2012, Mr. Kidd opened Taco Kidd in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The restaurant is an inexpensive, quick-service style restaurant that serves authentic Mexican fare. The restaurant uses freshly made tortillas, fresh ingredients for the salsa and guacamole bars, and fajita chicken and steak.
Mr. Kidd was assisted in opening his restaurant by a specialized loan and grant program for small business owners. Debra Taylor, at Liberty Bank of Arkansas told him about the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas's Economic Development Program (EDP) and accompanying EDPPlus grant.
The loan that Mr. Kidd obtained from Liberty Bank of Arkansas, which was funded by a low-cost EDP advance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), was supplemented with a $25,000 EDPPlus grant. EDPPlus grants are available through FHLB Dallas member institutions, such as Liberty Bank of Arkansas, and are offered in conjunction with EDP advances. The program provides favorably priced advances to FHLB Dallas member institutions to support economic development and community revitalization projects that qualify by location, income, or targeted services.
If a member institution is approved for an EDP advance, the member's customer may then be eligible for an accompanying EDPPlus grant. EDPPlus grants are noncompetitive and available on a first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small business development and job creation in underserved areas or to underserved populations. FHLB Dallas has made $1 million in EDPPlus funds available in 2013.
"The grant was a huge help for us being a brand new business and starting up," said Mr. Kidd. "Authentic Mexican food is new to this area, so any help at all was great. We are trying to get the residents out of the fast food restaurants. We're starting to build that audience and they are coming in and starting to appreciate what we're doing."
Mr. Kidd used the proceeds from the loan to purchase equipment, including the grill, stove, oven, dining room furniture, TVs, and tables. The loan also supplied working capital for payroll and the initial food inventory.
"The grant money provided additional working capital, plus we are purchasing an outside illuminated sign so we can advertise our daily specials, hours, et cetera," Mr. Kidd said. "One of the mistakes I made was not incorporating the cost of signage in my initial plans."
Mr. Kidd recalls he and his wife's reaction when they learned they had received the grant.
"We jumped up and down, literally," he said. "Any amount of money that comes through helps support the business, but when you need it the most and it comes through, it's amazing. We are now almost to the point where we are turning a profit. I'm not sure we would have made it without the help of that grant."
Ms. Taylor, who is vice president of lending at Liberty Bank of Arkansas, was working with Mr. Kidd on a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, so she knew he would meet the criteria for an EDPPlus grant.
"Whether it's a new business that needs help with start-up costs, or an existing business that has had a slow period, EDPPlus grants give them the working capital they need to be successful," said Ms. Taylor. "We try to take advantage of all the products available to us through our relationship with FHLB Dallas, so that we can promote our local economy by supporting small businesses and creating jobs."
Taco Kidd is frequented by members of the chamber of commerce, Liberty Bank's employees, and the mayor has also dined at the restaurant.
"It is always an honor to welcome a new investment and business to our community," said Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin. "I want to personally thank the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas for extending its EDPPlus grant to Taco Kidd. We look forward to the success of Taco Kidd in our community."
The restaurant is open seven days a week, and features a drive-through window and a pick-up counter. The restaurant employs 12 staff members – six part-time workers and six full-time workers – including Mr. Kidd, who does everything from shift work and cooking to taking care of administration and payroll. Mr. Kidd's future plans for the restaurant include the addition of catering.
"It's been neat to see," he said. "We started this idea two years ago, and to see it go from just an idea to coming up with a name to talking about the menu to where it is now, is just mind blowing. It's really exciting to see people come in and appreciate what we do here."
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $35.8 billion as of December 31, 2012, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.
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CONTACT: Corporate Communications Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas www.fhlb.com (214) 441-8445
Source:Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas