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As of March 2012, Slow Money NC has facilitated over 36 loans in North Carolina totaling about 140K, and several more are in the pipeline.

We also made a much larger loan to Chatham Marketplace, our much-loved cooperative grocery store in Pittsboro, NC, to lower its borrowing cost.

This was how we did it.

“Bringing It Home, Chatham, LLC”
A Slow Money NC project to refinance Chatham Marketplace’s existing loan

The Chatham Marketplace  was in its 5th year of operation and had been steadily paying down its initial loan of $605K from the National Cooperative Bank in Washington, D.C. The monthly payments were approximately $7500. The balance on the loan was about $400K with an interest rate of 8.41%.  Slow Money NC wanted to help enable Chatham Marketplace to pay off this loan with a lower-interest-rate and lower-monthly-payment.

Sixteen individuals contributed $25k each. With the help of a lawyer, they purchased the existing loan from the National Cooperative Bank loan.

The structure for making the loan was to have the 16 participants form a member-managed limited liability company (“LLC”). They then contributed 25k each to the LLC in exchange for their membership interests, and the LLC made the loan. As the company receives interest and principal payments on the loan, monthly payments are made to participants and to Slow Money NC. The program is structured not to involve a sale of securities as participants were actively involved in reviewing and making the loan and operating the LLC.  The investors 4.5 interest and payments are amortized over an eight year period. Slow Money NC receives .5%  for administrative fees.

With the new loan, Chatham Marketplace now has a monthly payment of approximately $5,000,  which is $2,500 less than were paying. They have used this savings as additional working capital for operating costs, marketing, and, also, for improvements.

Our thanks go out to all the generous and brilliant people who are taking part in this exciting project that so clearly strengthens our local food economy.

Carol, Lyle and Jordan
Slow Money NC