The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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September 7, 2012

Joplin company funded by city loans closes

JOPLIN, Mo. — A company that owes about $63,000 to the city of Joplin in economic development loans has gone out of business.

RNFB Inc., 507 E. Fifth St., a company that built and moved displays for the road-show industry, has closed its operations.

Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, said the company began ramping down operations in May and June with the anticipation of ceasing operations by the end of June. He said company officials are still involved in the steps of getting the business closed out.

The company asked the city for loans in 2010 to help fund its then-fledgling operations. The City Council approved two loans, one a low-interest loan of $40,000 from a revolving loan fund to assist businesses. The other was a loan of $60,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant funds that is forgiven if a company creates jobs with 51 percent of them going to low- or moderate-income earners over three years.

Company officials wanted the money to expand the company’s space by buying and equipping a building in the 500 block of Virginia Avenue. The low-interest loan was to be repaid over three years with an interest payment of $1,200 due at the end of the first year and the principal paid in the next two years. The CDBG loan required the company to create 20 new jobs, according to Troy Bolander, city planner.

“They didn’t use all the funding,” Bolander said. He said the company did use $40,000 but drew $23,000 from the CDBG funding. Bolander said the company was four jobs short of meeting the loan’s requirements when it shut down.

 The city does hold first position on the company’s equipment as collateral for the loans.

 “We will be getting that property back,” Bolander said. The city had placed ownership tags on the equipment and had kept it inventoried, he said. Those items include computer and office equipment, furniture, a box truck and a forklift. Anything bought with the CDBG money will be sold to repay that fund.

City workers will be sent to pick up the equipment soon, Bolander said.

Asked what the city will do with the equipment, Bolander said, “Most likely we will liquidate it. It may be sold in the city auction,” which is scheduled to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the public works center, 1300 W. A St.

Joplin has made loans to two other companies.

A low-interest loan and training grants totaling $300,000 were given to Onshore Technologies, a computer technology outsourcing company, in 2009. The terms of that loan were extended later to assist the company and the company has been meeting its obligations to the city, Bolander said.

Kodiak Sports, formerly of 1002 E. Fourth St., received a low-interest loan of $120,000 and a forgivable loan from CDBG economic development funding of $40,000 in 2010. That company planned to use the money to start up a paintball and nutritional supplement manufacturing operation. The company lost part of its operations in a fire at the Fourth Street location, but moved its operations and is still making capsules for nutritional supplements and meeting its loan obligations.

Equipment viewing

The Public Works Center will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, for a viewing of the auction items before the sale.

 

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