Success Stories





Carson Block Building


The Carson Block Building is an example of AEDC's commitment to community development projects in our region. The Northern California Indian Development Council was prepared to begin work on this historic 51,000 square foot historic landmark when the state dissolved the Redevelopment Budget, and they learned they no longer had matching funds to access about $1.5 million in grant funds. After approaching AEDC, we were able to bring together other local agncies committed to community development, including the Headwaters Fund, Humboldt Area Foundation and the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission, to pool resources and provide a loan to fulfill the matching needs. The monies were used to replace the roof, earthquake retrofit, and facade work. The initial funding was also leveraged to give NCIDC access to New Market Tax Credits and a CDBG grant/loan through the city, assuring the funding for the $10.5 million project. 





Crestmark Architectural Millworks


As Sean Olsen thinks back to 1997 when he, his brother, and their father started Crestmark Architectural Millworks, he defines the three of them as “technicians with entrepreneurial seizures.” They had all of the skills needed to design and install commercial cabinets and figured they could perform the business tasks rather easily. The business side turned out to be harder than expected, however. Looking back Sean remembers, “We didn’t have a clue about running a business. We thought we did, but you don’t know about running a business until you are the one signing the checks. We weren’t very prepared with how slow paying (subcontracting) could be; it can easily be ninety days from when your work is done and you get paid.”

The AEDC helped Crestmark with the business side by getting them the financial capital they needed to finance major projects and upgrade their infrastructure. 

With the Olsen brother’s fine craftsmanship, hard work, and a little help from AEDC, Crestmark has become a successful local company that brings money into Humboldt County and supports twenty employees.







John McClurg, Fire and Light


Arcata and recycling have always gone hand in hand. In fact, the oldest recycling center in the nation started in Arcata over 30 years ago. The early days were not without problems however, as glass was expensive to recycle because it had to be brought to San Francisco for processing. Knowing this, a host of local leaders came up with an innovative idea. They combined the artistic talents of area residents with local recycled glass and made a business out of it.

This idea turned into Fire and Light Recycled Glass Dinnerware and Giftware. Employing 20 people, Fire and Light has become a company of pride for the local area. Their environmentally friendly designer glassware now dazzles customers in 700 stores nationwide.

Current Fire and Light President, John McClurg, purchased the company in 1999 with the help of AEDC. Not only were they an important source of financial capital, but they also provided organizational and social capital that were essential to Fire and Light's success. According to McClurg, “AEDC was very supportive and encouraging… they played a pivotal role in putting parties together, providing money and moral encouragement. If it weren't for AEDC, I don't think we would have pulled it off.”




Paul Lubitz, Holly Yashi


It took confidence to secure the funding to triple the size of Holly Yashi’s 5,000 square foot building, said Paul Lubitz, Holly Yashi owner. It was because of AEDC’s SBA 504 Loan with a fixed interest rate that they were willing to take that step. Holly Yashi can now take on tasks that it couldn’t before because of lack of space. Lubitz said it allows them to buy their displays and other materials in quantity because they have the space for storage. He said their employees now have offices, and can work unencumbered. Finally, he said the additional space has allowed them to upgrade their tools and machinery.

Lubitz says he recognizes that their company touches the community by providing good jobs, utilizing local services and providing product for local retailers, affecting the economy outside of their 15,000 square foot building.

“Because of the incredible space we now have we can allow ourselves to imagine concepts and tackle projects we couldn’t dare to before. Thanks AEDC!”





Jason and Joye Silva, Street, Track and Trail

Fort Bragg

Avid motorcycle riders, Jason and his wife Joye bought Street, Track & Trail three years ago, selling and repairing dirt bikes, street bikes, ATV’s and selling clothing and accessories. Jason said before he owned the business, he spent time at the store tinkering with the old business owner. When the business was available to purchase, Jason said he and his wife wanted it to supplement his income as a logging mechanic. In the three years that they have owned the business, the clientele has grown significantly, and it is now his full-time job. Joye said it was through AEDC that they were able to obtain the financial backing for their business. They were not eligible for a conventional loan or SBA loan from a bank, and Joye said they are very happy they had the opportunity to purchase the business. “It’s been very rewarding,” she said.



Carla Rowland, Sew What


Carla Rowland was born in Arcata and as a child always dreamed of owning a business within the community she held dear. After moving away she came back to her birthplace and started a business in the location of her dreams.  Putting together her love of sewing and the community she loves, Carla and a partner started Sew What, the only sewing alterations storefront in the area.  Ever since the business started AEDC has been there to help. From providing the initial start-up capital to helping refurbish and buy new sewing equipment, AEDC has been with Carla every step of the way. 

“I don’t think there would have been an alternative means (to financing).  We didn’t have the start-up money, and we probably looked too risky for the banks.  We tried other things, but the AEDC had faith and they continue to today.”

Even through today’s tough economic times, Sew What continues to grow giving Carla steady work and a place hold within the community. “I love to sew.  It’s what I want to do… (and) the community is so supportive; it is what gets me up in the morning.  If it wasn’t for AEDC this wouldn’t have been possible.” 

How would you use a small business loan from AEDC?


Working Capital

Business Start-Up

Purchase of Commercial Property

Renovation or Construction of Commercial Property

Energy Efficiency Improvements