Carter Bros. gets funding

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 10, 2000

from USDA, electric co-op


Staff Writer

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BRUNDIDGE ­ A combined effort of individuals on the federal, state and local levels have made the rebuilding of Carter Brothers Manufacturing Company, Inc. possible.

The go-kart manufacturer located south of Brundidge on Highway 231 was presented a check for $580,000 Thursday afternoon. Funds came from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development through South Alabama Electric Cooperative and the Brundidge Industrial Development Board.

Steve Pelham, state director

of USDA Rural Development, presented a check for $450,000 to Max Davis, general manager of South Alabama Electric Cooperative, during a luncheon at the Brundidge Country Club.

"UDSA Rural Development is pleased to help promote sustainable rural economic development and job creation through the operation of a revolving loan fund program," Pelham said. "The successful partnership between USDA Rural Development, South Alabama Electric Cooperative and the Brundidge Industrial Development Board is helping to rebuild Carter Brothers Manufacturing so that the rich tradition that Carter Brothers has developed as a solid corporate citizen is able to continue for many more years."

The USDA money combined with $130,000 from a Revolving Loan Fund has made rebuilding from a devastating December 2000 fire possible, along with expansion of the business that provides local jobs. SAEC will re-lend the zero-interest loan to the Brundidge Industrial Development Board.

Stuart Arn, president and CEO of Carter Brothers, was "speechless" after being presented the check that made the dream of, not only staying in operation, but expanding possible.

"Thanks from the bottoms of our hearts," Arn said on behalf of the Carter Brothers Manufacturing family. "You’re looking at a very humble person. This is the most fantastic think that’s ever occurred in my lifetime."

Just after the pre-Christmas fire, Arn told Jim Caldwell, vice president of operations at the plant, he wanted to rebuild.

"With this rebuilding program, we tripled the size of our plant," Caldwell said. "What we needed was friends like you."

Caldwell said the employees of Carter Brothers "owe a debt of gratitude" to all of those entities that worked to secure funding to keep the plant in operation here in Pike County.

USDA Rural Development considers and grades project applications from electric and telephone cooperatives nationwide each quarter to determine who will receive funding from the national pool.

During this year’s third quarter funding cycle, 26 loan applications totaling more than $8 million were selected. Two of those loans went to Alabama and the $450,000 to SAEC is the maximum awarded through the program.

"It was important that we keep jobs in Pike County," Davis said, adding the co-op is committed to the communities it serves.

"We worked together with several local agencies to make this venture a possibility. I think Carter Brothers saw how important they were to us and the community and that makes our involvement even more important."

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said the check presentations prove everyone in Pike County can work together.

"We really enjoyed working on this project," Ramage said. "Everyone on our team did an outstanding job. It was very satisfying to see an existing business return and expand after its disaster.

"Business retention is such an important part of our responsibility. We all spend a lot of time trying to recruit new business, but making sure our existing ones have continued success is just as rewarding."