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Richmond's third Milk House opens Friday with SBA 504 loan from First Merchants Bank and Indiana Statewide CDC
A new Milk House opens on Richmond's south side this Friday, September 1 at South E and Eighth streets. It's the third Milk House in Richmond for owners Jeff and Cindy Cregar. Their first two, along East and West Main, have been big hits in their neighborhoods. Jeff Cregar says, "The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Actually, we have been getting asked when we were going to open a south-side location pretty much since the day we opened the first store in 2009."

The Milk House offers milk, snacks, packaged foods and fountain drinks. Ten people employed at the new Milk House bring the total to 30 employees at the three locations. The newest Milk House enters the south side at a good time, just after a nearby Marsh store closed.

For the third time, Jeff and Cindy obtained a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program to buy real estate, build and equip their Milk House. First Merchants Bank and the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation provided all three SBA 504 loans.

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local banks to fund Hoosier small businesses using SBA 504 loans to buy fixed assets such as real estate and equipment.

Jeff Cregar says, "There is a lot to like about the SBA 504 loan option. We are able to get a relatively low interest rate, and that rate is fixed so there are no worries about the loan payment rising during periods of possible rate increases like the one that currently exists."

First Merchants' Lee Elzemeyer says, "The 504 Product allows the bank to offer a longer fixed rate than is typical for traditional commercial lending. The lower down payment requirement also helps the borrower to preserve capital for other items that come up when opening a new store."

The newest Milk House is larger and has a more contemporary look than the other two. It is also a new construction and includes space for a corporate office that, until now, was in the Cregar's home. The Cregars remodeled the first two Milk Houses that were former Miller's Milkhouses and had been closed for several years. All three feature drive-throughs. The new store is near a third closed Miller's Milkhouse.

Merchants' Elzemeyer says, "The history of the Milkhouses in Richmond runs deep. Jeff and Cindy's first two locations took the place of vacant former Miller's Milkhouses that had been here for decades. This project is a new construction and a great improvement to a busy intersection. The Milk House will help fill in a part of the void of having the grocery leave the area."

Indiana Statewide CDC has provided more than $500 million to 1,200 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving more than 15,000 jobs, and is the most prolific CDC in Indiana.

First Merchants Bank ( is part of First Merchants Corporation, the largest financial holding company based in Central Indiana. Since its organization in 1893, the Corporation has grown to include banks with more than 100 locations in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.

The Milk House offers milk, dairy products, snacks, fountain drinks and packaged foods at three Richmond locations. The first Milk House opened in 2009 and the newest in September, 2017.

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