Mayor Vaughn Spencer and City Councilman Dennis Sterner joined owner Jonathan Cifredo at a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier today at Cifredo’z Barber Salon on N. 9th Street in Reading. The business, which opened January 9th, was financed with another loan from the City’s Community Development Department’s Micro-Loan program. “The city has been very, very supportive. My wife and I feel blessed to be a part of this city,” said Cifredo, who runs the salon with his wife Emily, who is the receptionist. They moved their business a few doors down from 213 N. 9th St. and used the $35,000 loan to renovate the space, a former gift store; to purchase equipment, as well as a buy a new data system for client information and bookings, as well as income and expense reports. “I’ve been trying to get this data system for years, and this loan has helped us do it,” Cifredo added.

The loan also helped to consolidate debt from the former location, as well as purchase a new sign. “It’s rewarding for the City to assist businesses with the Micro-Loan program,” noted Mayor Spencer. “A lot of credit goes to the Community Development office for creating this program. We look forward to assisting other small businesses in the future,” he added.

Cifredo also has plans to train barbers as well. In April, he will qualify to take the manager’s exam which will then allow him to train one student every nine months. He’s looking to coordinate with the I-Lead charter school to send interested students. “If I could change one life, one student at a time it’s worth it,” said Cifredo, a former student of Mayor Spencer. “He has a lot of great ideas and these are the type of business owners we’re looking for in the City,” concluded Councilman Dennis Sterner.

Contact: Yohalna Jimenez Community Development Department/ City of Reading (610) 655-6211 Yohalna.jimenez@readingpa.org

Michael Dee Special Assistant to the Mayor for Media and Communications / City of Reading (610) 655-6304 / (484) 772-6072 (cell) Michael.dee@readingpa.org

FORT WORTH – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that it is approving an $8 million loan guarantee to the City of Austin to establish a family business loan program that will make small business and micro loans to third-party, family owned business borrowers in the disadvantaged Saltillo neighborhood.

HUD’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Assistance Program enables local governments to borrow money at reduced interest rates to promote economic development, stimulate job growth and improve public facilities. Such public investment is often needed to inspire private contributions, to provide seed money or to simply boost the confidence private firms and individuals may need to invest in distressed areas.

“HUD’s Loan Guarantee Program can be a powerful public investment tool to drive economic development in underserved areas,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “The program will be a boost to the City’s revitalization efforts and provide jobs for residents who need them most.”

The City will use its Section 108 Loan Guarantee financing to leverage private financing from lenders participating in the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) and Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan programs. The program will seek to expand the capacity for commercial lending in the Saltillo neighborhood by providing financing for a variety of economic development activities. These activities are expected to create an estimated 160 permanent new full-time equivalent jobs, primarily for the benefit of low- and moderate-income persons, support the revitalization of areas within the Saltillo neighborhood and increase the tax base for the City.

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews or on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD.


(March 1, 2012)- City officials were present at a ribbon cutting ceremony last night at Sofrito Gastro Pub on Douglass Street in Reading. Present at the ceremony were Mayor Vaughn Spencer, City Council President Francis Acosta, and Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz. They helped owner Hector J. Ruiz cut the ribbon on his business, the former Tommy’s Café & Cabana Bar, for which he was the chef and took ownership of on May 31st of last year. “Anytime we can recognize a new business in the City, especially one that was helped with the Micro-Loan program, is great for Reading. This is the type of investment we’re trying to create, and this is the help we can give someone willing to make that investment,” said Mayor Vaughn Spencer.

“We wanted to have a ribbon cutting sometime early in the year just to remind people about the Micro-Loan program,” explained Yohalna Jimenez, who runs the Micro-Loan program for the City’s Community Development Department. “We want to encourage businesspeople who are interested in the program to call our office and apply for the loan,” she continued. We have more of these ceremonies planned, but we want to be able to do one every week.”

Ruiz received $35,000 from the city which he used to get his business up and running. The Micro-Loan program is available to low and moderate income persons wishing to start a business or businesses located in, or wishing to locate in, low and moderate income areas of the City of Reading.

Contact: Yohalna Jimenez Community Development Department/ City of Reading (610) 655-6211 Yohalna.jimenez@readingpa.org

Michael Dee Special Assistant to the Mayor for Media and Communications City of Reading (610) 655-6304 / (484) 772-6072 (cell) Michael.dee@readingpa.org

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