For over fifteen years, Tchula Superfoods provided the residents of Tchula, Mississippi with fresh produce, groceries and convenience items. Owned by a Delta family, the store turned a yearly profit and provided 10 stable jobs in a community historically faced with double digit unemployment.
After several years of strong operations, store sales began to decline when the owner-manager passed away. The store remained in the family; however, lacking the knowledge and time of the owner-manager, the family decided to sell the store. The decision to sell the store concerned the Tchula community. In addition to facing possible job losses, residents realized that the store could close. If the store closed, Tchula residents would have to drive 11 miles to Lexington or 25 miles to Greenwood for groceries.
In Tchula Superfoods, however, Mr. J.R. Jones envisioned a prime community investment opportunity. On one hand, the store’s track record of profits made the store an attractive investment. On the other hand, the investment would allow the local grocery store to continue its operations in an underserved community. “I believe in the development of rural Mississippi” said Jones. “The Tchula Store offered a good opportunity [to partner] with an aggressive mayor trying to revitalize the city.”
After talking with a bank about his financing options, Mr. Jones decided to work with an entity that could provide more flexible financing terms. Mr. Jones approached the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD) to inquire about a small business loan through the Mid Delta Community and Individual Investment Corporation (MDCIIC). “I chose ECD because of its mission and leadership” said Jones. “My idea of having a great financial partner in economic growth was realized.”
Through the ECD and MDCIIC arrangement, Mr. Jones was able to acquire the appropriate level of financing needed to purchase the store and keep it operational. Renamed Tchula New Deal, the local grocery store is open for business and remains active in the Tchula community.
ECD manages the MIDCIIC, which provides small business financing to firms located in Holmes, Humphreys, Sharkey, Sunflower, Washington and Yazoo Counties in Mississippi. For more information, please contact Sue Evans at (601) 944-1100.