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Business loans help keep jobs in southeast Queens

Six below-market-rate loans, totaling over $1 million, were approved by the Greater Jamaica Local Development Company to help area businesses create and retain 144 jobs in southeast Queens.

The loans were granted over the course of 2001 to six local businesses as part of an economic stimulus program from the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, said John Scott, the group’s director of financial and business services.

One of the loans, which typically range between $10,000 and $300,000, was granted to Alternative Fuels Technologies Corp. in South Ozone Park, a company that reconditions and manufactures cars to make them wheelchair accessible. The cars, designed by company President Michael DiGonis, will be marketed to van and cab operators, especially those who provide airport service, DiGonis said.

Other companies receiving the loans included Deutsher & Daughters, Inc., a door manufacturing company in Jamaica; Caricare Medical Services in St. Albans; Laurelton Auto Repair in Laurelton; Paulino Dental Laboratory in Jamaica, and E & J Cleaners in South Ozone Park.

The program has been in operation for about 20 years, and has approved about 60 to 70 loans, Scott said. In order to qualify for loans, a business must have a zip code beginning with 114 and face difficulty in securing a loan with other banks or lending institutions, Scott said.

“They may not be what we would call bankable loans,” he said. “Our criteria is flexible. We’re trying to retain and create jobs in the area.”

Loans are approved based on feasibility of the business, and the jobs that will be created or retained in the area, Scott said.

“This is a way of helping out people who have good ideas and good plans, but who may have problems getting loans from other institutions,” said Sam Samuels, a spokesman for the GJDC.

The loans were created by federal, state, and city grants, and repayments and interest from previous loans are used to generate the new loans, Scott said.

The GJDC receives about 20 applications a year for the loans, even though they hand out more than 300 to potential applicants, Scott said. There is no deadline, he said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch at TimesLedger@aol.com or cal 229-0300 Ext. 138.

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