Aqua Flow Gutters Expands Thanks to UEZ Microloan
Drive past a home and business anywhere in Lakewood and look up. If it has a rain gutter on it, chances are that Aqua Flow Gutters installed the system.
“The core of our business is right here in Lakewood,” said Jack Lench, the owner, who started Aqua Flow in 2006. “A large percentage of builders, home owners, property management companies, and health care and nursing facilities in town come to us for gutters.”
Aqua Flow, 40 Clifton Ave., Lakewood, was one of eight local certified Lakewood UEZ businesses recently awarded microloans ranging from $20,000 to $35,000 each. Lench said he received a $35,000 microloan, which he plans to use to expand his business so he can accommodate larger commercial jobs.
Lench said that his original vision for his business was to operate all over the tri-state area.
“But I realized I have plenty of business right in Lakewood, which is where the core of my business is now,” he said.
At this point three Aqua Flow crews do gutter installation and metal-related work on a daily basis. Two crews are dedicated to service, repairs and gutter cleanings.
Aqua Flow performs all kinds of siding and roofing work, including but not limited to general construction, rehabilitation, siding, soffits, fascia, gutters, gutter cleaning, roofing, and flat roofing for residential and commercial customers. For information, call 732-363-3346 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Microloans: The Microloan program, a subdivision of the Financial Assistance Program, was cited as a model program across the state by the Urban Enterprise Zone Authority, Trenton. The microloans have a 3 ½ percent interest amortized from 5 to 10 years for loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000.
They are designed to facilitate small business growth and development, and job creation in Lakewood. Microloans are available for businesses seeking to establish, expand, or redevelop their companies. Funds may also be utilized used for working capital, supplies and machinery, the purchase of inventory, and to refurbish existing facilities. Patricia Komsa, executive director of the Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC) said, “Microloans, however, cannot be used to refinance existing debt.”
Rabbi Moshe Weisberg, treasurer of the Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC) said that to-date the LDC has awarded close to 100 Microloans. Although it is well-known that statistically over half of all business fail, the Lakewood Microloan program has a better than 95 percent success rate since its inception in 1998.
The repayment of previous microloans has resulted in “second-generation funds” that are now being used to award the new Microloans. Rabbi Weisberg said, “In this way, the program is self-perpetuating. It does not cost Lakewood taxpayers anything. We are very proud of this program because it is a home-run for the Township, a home-run for the LDC, and a home-run for businesses. The Microloan program brings energy to the township and it brings revitalization to the downtown and other commercial areas. We need to keep this program and the economic development it fosters.”
The Lakewood UEZ Microloan Program is now accepting applications for loans up to $35,000 a year. Businesses interested in applying for a Microloan can pick up applications at the UEZ office, Room 12 of the Lakewood Municipal, 231 Third Street, Lakewood, or contact Patricia Komsa, executive director of the Lakewood Development Corporation at 732-364-2500 Ext. 5257 or visit lakewoodnj.gov/department/uez for more information.
If a business is not UEZ certified or for further questions or to learn how to become certified, call Patricia Komsa in the Lakewood UEZ office at 732-364-2500 Ext. 5257. Lakewood businesses can also contact Eli Josephson of the LCSC (Lakewood Community Services Corporation), who provides UEZ loan consultation services for Lakewood businesses.