Invest Aurora provides incredibly valuable resources to current Aurora businesses, as well as those looking to locate in Aurora. Lately, Invest Aurora has been highlighting some local businesses that have benefitted from the financing opportunities we have made available. Our most recent example is Crystal House, another proud recipient of an EDA Revolving Loan Fund award.
Crystal House Company Overview
Crystal House was established in 1999 by owners Chaz Nieponski and Elias Akwo. They incorporated as Chazerly Designs, Inc. DBA Crystal House in 2009. They create and produce unique, high-quality custom sand carved products with Navy/military logos and insignias, which are sold in Navy exchanges worldwide. They use this same technique to create one-of-a-kind products which are sold to select gift shops. Additionally, they have the expertise to repair and restore crystal glassware and artwork, and are a reseller of most major crystal brands.
Assistance Received Through Invest Aurora
After facing major business interruptions and setbacks due to COVID-19 closures, Crystal House was in need of financial assistance to move forward. But as is often the case with small businesses, it was difficult to secure traditional bank financing to accomplish their goals. In fact, according to Chaz, “Implementations of effective strategies could not happen without support from Invest Aurora.”
The help they received from Invest Aurora came in the form of the EDA Revolving Loan Fund. With this loan award, Crystal House was able to diversify their product offerings, expand their workforce, and update and optimize their online ecommerce platform. They have expressed their gratitude to Invest Aurora for recognizing their vision for the future of their company and helping to set them on a path to success.
EDA Revolving Loan Fund
On August 5, 2021, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced an award of a $2 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Invest Aurora to capitalize and administer a Revolving Loan Fund, providing gap financing to small local businesses. Through this loan, businesses can obtain short-term financing of up to 60 months, with loan amounts up to $750,000. As existing loans get paid off, those funds become available to lend out again to new businesses. Invest Aurora is able to process and underwrite these EDA loan applications in-house. You can find details of this loan process at https://investaurora.org/eda-revolving-loan/.
Why Aurora is the Right Fit for Crystal House
In late 2018, Crystal House became trading partners with the Navy Exchanges worldwide. This created the need for expansion and growth. Thus began their search for a new location to satisfy this need. As Chaz recalls, “After visiting one of the first Friday’s in Aurora we were quite impressed with the City including its charming character, its diversity and its administration”.
Chaz and Elias have been extremely pleased with their decision to relocate to Aurora. Chaz describes their experience of doing business in Aurora this way: “We are grateful for being in a state-of-the-art big City that feels like living in a small town, where the government is composed of officials who really care about small businesses as well as creating an environment where we love to come to work and where we are proud to invite our clients.”
Moving Forward with Invest Aurora
Crystal House plans to continue in their quest for growth in the upcoming year. In fact, Elias estimates that in 2023 they expect to see their workforce triple. Additionally, they are anticipating significant growth in all of their revenue streams. They credit Invest Aurora for providing them with the ability to pursue that growth. Moreover, they plan to continue working with Invest Aurora to meet their goal of purchasing the building from which they currently operate.
The Invest Aurora team looks forward to continuing this relationship and assisting Crystal House as they grow. They will hopefully take advantage of our services that aid in business strategies, workforce development, hiring resources and more. For information or to schedule a consultation with one of our economic development professionals, contact us at 630-256-3160 or email@example.com.