CDFI: Coastal Enterprises
Loan type: Small business loan
Porter is from Cutler, Maine, a small fishing community down east. He
grew up wanting to fish. "As a kid I was always around the wharves,
trying to bug everybody that would take me out, just for the day."
His parents urged him to go to college in Portland and study industrial
technology. But, after three years, he decided what he really wanted was
to go home to Cutler and fish. "I bought an old wooden boat and got
started, and then worked my way up. I do cohogs in the summer time and
in the winter time we do sea urchins and scallops."
Kristin quickly ran into the same problem that all his friends in the
fishing community were complaining about- the necessity to sell to the
middle man on the wharf, whose price was always as low as possible. Kristin
got the idea that if he could get his own cooler and become a dealer himself,
he could cut out the outside middle man and offer the local fishing community
a much better deal. When he approached a bank, they wanted him to put
up everything he hadhis house and his boatand they charged a very
high rate of interest.
Kristin learned about CEI, a CDFI in Portland who works with coastal communities
and fishermen to diversify their efforts and cut back on costs. "I
got a loan through CEI to get a truck, and get a cooler certified through
the state to be a wholesale dealer, so that I could package my own and
ship them out. Just to do that you have to be a wholesale seafood dealer.
So I did that."
Now, after a day out on the water, fishermen drive their catch to Kristins
cooler, which is right next to his house. There they get their clams and
sea urchins weighed and receive a decent price for their efforts. Kristin
employs several local guys to help him out, and is providing a valuable
service to his community. "Guys I've grown up with, we can relate.
They know that Im not in it to make big dollars and give them a
bad rap. I try to use them right and they try to use me right."
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