Tucson financing group works to broaden reach for small businesses, homebuyers | News About Tucson and Southern Arizona Businesses

The property, built in 1902, hosts about 100 events a year — mostly weddings.

“I love downtown and how it has evolved and changed,” Millette said.

Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market, 11 S. Sixth Ave., needed a loan to make capital improvements to the grocery store at 11 S. Sixth Ave., and got it through an IDA partner, the Business Development Financing Corp.

“The bridge that it gave for us to be able to come in and start a business in the food desert that was downtown was made possible because of their mission,” said owner Paul Cisek.

Kingan Gardens, 325 W. Franklin Street, is among the small businesses that have benefited from the Tucson Industrial Development Authority. 

Jim Wilcox is the financial consultant for the Warehouse Arts Management Organization (WAMO), which supports local artists.

When the city of Tucson agreed to let the group buy the Toole Shed at 197 E. Toole Ave., the condition was that it always be used for art-related purposes.

He said traditional banks scoffed at the caveat, afraid they couldn’t sell it if the loan defaulted.

The IDA was able to help.

“It’s essential to have these financing tools,” Wilcox said. “They’re critical for nonprofits.”

WAMO currently leases space in its properties to more than 50 artists in three spaces, the Toole Shed; the Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 W. Sixth St.; and the Art & Design Center at 3776 E. Grant Road.

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