Avoyelles business to get $1.3 million loan - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

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Avoyelles business to get $1.3 million loan

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5)- An Avoyelles Parish woman with a successful business in Bunkie will now have the opportunity to start another business in the small community. It's thanks to her hard work and the help of the government. News Channel Five's Rachael Penton has the more about the rural loan program with the USDA.

Darlene St. Romain started Sylvia's Caring Companions Health Care Services back in 2006.

"I'm a giver and I just love to do that. I just love to work with individuals," says St. Romain.

Since then the business has grown to employ nearly 200 people in Avoyelles Parish that provide caregiver services.

"I have a nurse there when I need her. Everything is fine. Everything is okay because they provide me with the services that I need," says Sylvia's client Morris Voorhies.

Darlene has always had another dream- to open up a funeral home. Thanks to the success of Sylvia's Darlene was able to purchase this building but she still needed more capital, so she applied for a USDA Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan.

"We're interested in creating stimulation in economies where we need jobs where we need young people to move back to rural areas and this is just one of the administration's ways to make sure that there's capital available in rural spaces," says Lillian Salerno, Administrator of the USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

Darlene has been approved for 1.3 million dollars, which will make her dream of opening up St. Edwards Funeral Home a reality.

"I was super excited. I was just motivated. Ready to get it off the ground," adds St. Romain.

The USDA backs these loans in an effort to expand businesses in rural areas like Bunkie.

"We know that by working in partnership with businesses for job creation that's our way to get economies thriving in rural areas," adds Salerno.

It's an opportunity to create jobs and another successful business in Bunkie.

"I'm looking for it to do amazing things in the community," says St. Romain.

St. Edward's Funeral Home is projected to open on August 1st and will create four to six jobs. It will also include a coffee shop and a gift shop.

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