Colorado Lending Source | Nov. 25, 2015

In 2011, Colorado Lending Source was awarded a $300,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the new Intermediary Relending Program (IRP). With an additional contribution of $150,000 from Colorado Lending Source’s own funds, the Colorado Main Street Loans Program made its debut.

The purpose of the USDA IRP loan program was to help small businesses in rural communities recover from the recession. For Colorado Lending Source this meant restricting the service area to eight Northeastern and Eastern Colorado Counties, including Morgan, Washington, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Yuma, Kit Carson, and Lincoln. As the program depended on the revolving of funds, the organization aimed to make loans averaging $30,000, and creating or retaining at least one job per loan. In the Colorado Main Street USDA IRP inaugural year a total of $65,000 was distributed to two small businesses in rural communities.

Located in Rush, Colorado (Lincoln County), PJ’s General Store first opened in 2008. Owner Paul Johnson built the store himself, after recognizing the need for a convenience store and filling station for the ranchers and landowners in the sparsely populated surrounding area. At PJ’s, customers can purchase groceries, cold beer and beverages, animal feed, propane, toiletries, and other necessities. In 2011, he used a Colorado Main Street USDA IRP loan to secure $35,000 to purchase a new propane tank and refinance debt.

Today, PJ's General Store continues to be a one-stop shop for Rush and neighboring towns. The store has become a main fixture in the community, with a bulletin board where locals can share information and stay connected. Throughout the year PJ’s holds community events, including an Easter egg hunt, turkey shoot out for Thanksgiving, and a visit from Santa around Christmas time.