FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 31, 2012
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
New Gonzales Restaurateur Receives Help from Small Business Grant
GONZALES, TEXAS, August 31, 2012 – Marlene Metzler prepared for the dinner
crowd while attending to a group of women who had gathered at her restaurant
for a baby shower on a Saturday earlier this month. It’s hard for her to
believe that less than a year ago she was driving past an old historic building
in town square, saw a for sale sign in the window, and thought a nice
restaurant and gathering place would be just what the city needed.
On a whim, she called the building inspector for the city of Gonzales,
Texas, and asked him about the condition of the building. It was a historic
property that was built in 1889. It had a sound roof, the electrical wiring was
up to par, and to top it all off, the owner had just dropped the price by more
than $70,000. As a lover of anything old – her own home was built in 1849 – she
fell in love with the building.
Ms. Metzler met with the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business
Development Center and began working on a business plan. A staff member at the
University of Houston-Victoria SBDC told her about a grant program through Lone
Star Bank that might be able to help her.
Once Ms. Metzler learned about the potential grant offered through Lone Star
Bank, she decided to check it out. In addition to the small business loan Ms.
Metzler received from Lone Star Bank, which was funded by a low cost Economic
Development Program (EDP) advance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
(FHLB Dallas), she also received an accompanying $20,745 EDPPlus
grant from FHLB Dallas. With the help of the grant and loan, Ms. Metzler opened
her restaurant, the Running M Bar and Grill, in November 2011.
EDPPlus grants are available through FHLB Dallas member
institutions, such as Lone Star Bank, and are offered in conjunction with EDP
advances. The EDP provides favorably priced advances to FHLB Dallas
member institutions to support economic development and community
revitalization projects that qualify by location, income, or targeted
If a member institution is approved for an EDP advance, the member’s
customer may then be eligible for an accompanying EDPPlus
grant. EDPPlus grants are noncompetitive and available on a
first-come, first-served basis to promote and enhance small business
development and job creation in underserved areas or to underserved
populations. FHLB Dallas has awarded more than $10.6 million in
Ms. Metzler says the grant and loan have been critical to her transition to
restaurant owner. In addition to the EDPPlus grant, she also
qualified for a grant from the city.
“So I actually got both grants and put about $50,000 back into the
building,” she said. “I used the grant funds for renovations, put in
insulation, installed a pony wall that separates the restaurant from the bar,
upgraded the central heating and cooling unit, purchased all of my supplies,
refrigerators, coolers, all my kitchen appliances, tables, bar supplies,
Lone Star Bank has been using the EDP and EDPPlus for several
“It’s just such a great program for us in the community,” said Lone Star
Bank Vice President Gary Mobbs. “It’s just another tool in our tool box that
has given us the ability to serve our communities and help our small
businesses. The EDPPlus grant is great way to help the customer with
various project costs.”
Mr. Mobbs said Ms. Metzler was the perfect candidate for the program.
“We try to help small businesses in any way we can, and I really want to see
the downtown area grow and do well,” he said. “Ms. Metzler refurbished an old
historic building that is in a good location and is one of the main focal
points on the old square. These types of projects are essential to the
revitalization of the downtown area.”
The Running M Bar and Grill is located on Paul Street right on the square in
downtown Gonzales. Located next to the M Theater, a new boutique, framing shop,
and several offices, it is in an area that the city wants to revitalize. “They
are really trying to get things going around here,” Ms. Metzler said.
The St. George Street block in downtown Gonzales is undergoing a renovation
that is expected to showcase what can be accomplished in the downtown area and
serve as an impetus for continued rehabilitation of downtown buildings.
Ms. Metzler says she thinks of her establishment as a homelike place that
gives families a place to eat and relax in Gonzales. She now has 21 full and
part-time employees, and she leases a small apartment, which was included in
the purchase of the restaurant, to one of her regular customers.
At 55, she has worked full-time at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic
Laboratory, part of the Texas A&M system, for 30 years. She is planning to
retire in January and devote her days to the restaurant. With the help of the
EDPPlus grant and the loan, she feels like her restaurant is in a
good position to thrive.
“Without that assistance it would have been hard to open the restaurant,”
Ms. Metzler said. “I would have had to take on more debt and my payments would
have been a lot higher. I guess with determination I could have done it, but it
would have been a lot harder.”
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the
FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total
assets of $34.7 billion as of June 30, 2012, is a member-owned cooperative that
supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced
loans and other credit products to more than 900 members and associated
institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas.
For more information, visit the FHLB Dallas website at fhlb.com.