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Mary Max Cinema fills movie void in Logansport with SBA 504 financing from Community First Bank and Indiana Statewide CDC
Despite closing for six "snow days" this rugged winter, Mary Max Cinema 5 in Logansport is being welcomed by Cass County movie-goers.

Owner William Hawes says, "Logansport embraced us from the start since we opened in October. Holiday attendance was great. We haven't seen any winters like this...but when we can be open people are coming to see us. Now, everyone is glad to see spring arrive."

Hawes and his company built, equipped and opened Mary Max Cinema with financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program through Community First Bank and Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation.

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local lenders to provide SBA 504 loans to owners of small businesses. SBA 504 loans can give small business owners long-term, fixed rate financing similar to commercial loan terms available for large companies.

"The financing worked out well for us," Hawes says. "It helped us build exactly what we felt Logansport wanted: a movie theater that offers a viewing experience equivalent to any theater in the country."

Mary Max's five screens are equipped with the latest digital visual and audio projectors and comfortable stadium seating. About 35 people are employed at Mary Max in full-and-part-time jobs.

Hawes' company has built theaters for national chains. Logansport is the first location for a Mary Max (named for Hawes' three-year-old daughter Mary Maxine) theater. More may be built in other communities.

"We're finding a market in medium-sized cities that the movies have abandoned," says Hawes. Many older theaters have closed because they can't afford to upgrade to digital projection, and "digital is the only format most studios make available to theaters now," he says.

The Indiana Statewide CDC has invested over $459 million in more than 1,120 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving 26,500 jobs. Indiana Statewide CDC observed its 30th anniversary last year and is the most prolific CDC in Indiana.

Bob Hickman of Community First Bank says, "The SBA 504 program allows us to build an affordable loan structure with a fixed, long-term rate. It's a real job-creator for local lenders like Community First."

Since Congress created the 504 program, SBA 504 loans have funded over $62 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses. In turn, those small firms have created or retained over 2.1 million jobs for the U.S. economy.

Indiana Statewide CDC Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says, "SBA 504 loans are effective because borrowing companies can put as little as 10 percent down and receive a low, fixed interest rate for as long as 20 years. The SBA guarantees bonds sold privately to finance a portion of the loan. With the guarantee, we can offer loan rates more favorable than conventional financing."

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