Community Ventures; USDA Help Local Market Remain Open After Western KY Tornadoes
July 19, 2022

Community Ventures (CV) has, over the years, built a network of individuals (bank loan officers, economic development persons, county Judge Executives) in the 20 counties in Kentucky’s Mississippi Delta Region served by the USDA Intermediary Relending Program (IRP). Those folks have their ear to the ground for new business ventures in need of investment in their respective areas, and CV works with them to bring those projects to life.

The IRP Delta program, led by CV’s Ron Burkins, Vice President of Lending in the company’s Owensboro office has yielded a pipeline of entrepreneurs and small business owners, all from rural settings and, all previously underbanked or non-banked. The IRP Delta program has allowed Community Ventures to provide support, technical assistance, and funding to allow them to grow and provide much-needed products and services in their community.

More importantly, some of these businesses have answered greater calls to serve Western Kentucky at times of real crisis. Through the efforts of Burkins and the capital secured by the IRP loan, Pryorsburg Market—a fixture of the Mayfield community—has literally weathered the storm.

The Pryorsburg Market has been in operation in Mayfield for over 40 years. In 2021, the combination gas station, convenience store and sit-down eatery was bought by Joe Currin, a long-time resident and retired fire captain. Shortly after opening, in December of 2021 a historic twister dubbed ‘The Beast’ by the weather service ripped a path of devastation across four states, effectively leveling the town of Mayfield. Pryorsburg Market was one of few buildings not substantially damaged and it became a lifeline of sorts to the town. Currin turned it into a hub for rescue/recovery efforts and offered free food and drink to the residents who had lost so much. Because Pryorsburg Market still had power, fuel for cleanup vehicles and equipment could still be pumped. Unfortunately Currin depleted his funds, forcing a temporary closure. A Delta IRP loan, facilitated by Ron Burkins of Community Ventures, has allowed Currin’s business to re-open.

“The loan allowed me to buy gas and food to get the store back open, as well as get our new sign up,” said Currin. “It enables us to once again provide jobs and serve the community.”

“Joe is a local celebrity of sorts in Mayfield, and his public service as a fire captain, bailiff, and business owner puts him in the category of a true community leader,” noted Burkins. “When I went to visit Joe after the tornado hit, I witnessed firsthand the work Joe and Pryorsburg Market did to help in a time of need. The community will not soon forget the generosity of Joe and his team.

Since 2016, CV has worked with the USDA through the Delta IRP to lend $997,775—just shy of $1 million—to new and expanding businesses within the Delta area of Western Kentucky.

Combining our efforts with USDA funding has helped a total of ten (10) businesses launch or grow, creating and retaining much-needed jobs. Thanks to the funding and support these businesses received, they have created a combined 31 jobs and retained 18 jobs across 9 of the 20 counties served by the IRP Delta program in rural parts of Western Kentucky.