Economic-development group loans $132,800 to P&A African Market

THE SOUTH EASTERN Economic Development Corp. loaned $132,800 to P&A African Market, which allowed the store providing African foods and goods to relocate to a building at 855 Newport Ave. in Pawtucket. / COURTESY SEED
THE SOUTH EASTERN Economic Development Corp. loaned $132,800 to P&A African Market, which allowed the store providing African foods and goods to relocate to a building at 855 Newport Ave. in Pawtucket. / COURTESY SEED

PAWTUCKET – A nonprofit community lender has made a small-business loan of $132,800 to a 12-year-old market in Pawtucket that serves shoppers looking for African foods and goods.

The South Eastern Economic Development Corp. used R.I. Commerce Corp. funds to make the loan to P&A African Market, which opened in 2006 and sells groceries and other necessities to the African-American community. The loan allowed the business to purchase and move to a 3,304-square-foot building at 855 Newport Ave. The move enabled the business to expand and continue operations.

“Our partnership with Freedom National Bank made it possible for the longstanding African Market to purchase their own building and continue to service the community of Pawtucket,” said Angela Laperriere, SEED lender.

The market’s owner and manager, Amma Afriyie, opened P&A African Market in 2006. The store sells a variety of African groceries including beans, rice, Ghana bread, corn meal and curry powder. P&E also stocks Nigerian medicine and medicated soaps, which are imported from Ghana and vendors in New York City.

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SEED is a nonprofit economic-development organization certified in 1982 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Under various programs, SEED makes loans from $1,000 up to $5.5 million to assist small businesses to grow and create jobs throughout the region.

SEED is also a community-development financial institution under the Treasury Department and the SBA microlender for the region.

“As a nonprofit community lender, SEED will be able to make loans up to $250,000 with the R.I. Commerce funds,” said Maria Gooch-Smith, SEED’s executive director. Loans can be made for real estate purchases or improvements for a business, along with other uses including working capital and refinancing of high-interest-rate business credit cards. The rates range from 5 to 6 percent fixed and the term on the loans can go up to 10 years with longer amortization.

For more information on SEED, visit www.seedcorp.com.

Mary Lhowe is a PBN contributing writer.