CO4F grantees and Super's grocery stores owners Tab Odell, Betty Odell, Leroy "Perk" Odell and Tammy Webster







AS OF JUNE 25, 2015









Downtown Colorado Inc. 2015 Annual Conference


October 7, 2015







Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) improves access to healthy food in underserved Colorado communities by financing grocery stores and other
forms of healthy food retail.





















CO4F Making Progress in Second Year



The Denver Botanic Gardens 
Food Truck, one of the CO4F's 
first funding recipients.

Welcome to CO4F Quarterly News! As an introduction to the eNewsletter, we're seizing the opportunity to provide you with an update on the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F). Launched in 2013 as the first Colorado based fund of its kind, the CO4F was designed to help remove financial barriers from the construction, expansion, and renovation of grocery stores in underserved areas. Now, about halfway through its second year, the Fund has started to increase access to healthy food in underserved areas by financing new facilities offering fresh food, as well as existing facilities in need of improvements to ensure their communities' access to healthy food.

To date, the CO4F has received approximately 200 inquiries, and more than 60 first-stage applications. The need for fresh food access in areas outside the Denver metro area is apparent in our loan intake data, showing that 57 percent of applications are from other areas. For example, we've received applications from places like Saguache, Ignacio, and Greeley. The CO4F has funded seven entities, four of which have received grants. You will find more details and updated quarterly metrics in the left sidebar, as well as a profile of a CO4F borrower below. Look forward to these updates and examples of the businesses benefiting from the Fund in upcoming issues of CO4F Quarterly News.

In addition to improving healthy food access, economic development is a natural derivative of CO4F deals, as food retailers in underserved areas commonly provide needed jobs. Based on data provided, CO4F-financed businesses have preserved or created or are expected to create a total of more than 300 jobs in various regions throughout Colorado. We are proud to share information about the economic impact the Fund is making across the state, in addition to its health benefits.

In conjunction with program partners and other stakeholders, the CO4F program continues to evolve marketing and outreach activities, as well as customer technical assistance. To raise awareness of Colorado's food access issue and the Fund's work to address it, we are working to increase public recognition of CO4F-financed projects throughout 2015 and beyond. We look forward to sharing these stories with you here in future issues of CO4F Quarterly News





Grant Helps Prevent Four Rural Towns from Becoming Food Deserts



Leroy "Perk" Odell

LB Holdings, Inc. recently received a $165,000 CO4F grant to help improve four of its grocery stores located in rural Colorado. The company, owned by Leroy and Betty Odell, operates grocery stores in Akron, Haxtun, Walden, and Wiggins. All four stores were purchased by LB Holdings in August 2014, and much was needed to improve their condition. Under previous ownership, each store fell into disrepair, and three of the four stores had to close.


Without LB Holdings's stores, the towns in which they are located would be considered food deserts. In Walden, residents had to drive 120 miles round trip to purchase fresh food when its store was closed.


"Having a grocery store in a rural town is so important to the economic vitality of the town on many different levels. One of the most basic human needs is to have the availability of food. Many of our residents are older and don't have access to transportation to get them to other areas for groceries," said Julia Biesemeier, executive director of Phillips County Economic Development. "A rural grocery store also affects business retention and recruitment, as it is very difficult to compete with other surrounding towns that have a grocery store. Our local store provides jobs as well as tax revenue for our town. It was difficult to watch that revenue leave our small town when our residents would have preferred to shop local. We are blessed to have our grocery store back for so many reasons!"


Leroy "Perk" Odell explained that the repairs the stores needed were so extensive they would "make your head spin." He was faced with a long list of broken equipment necessary to sell fresh food that included inoperative refrigerators, compressors, display cases, dishwashers, and a meat slicer.


"The grant saved my neck," said Odell. "I was getting spread pretty thin and it helped us recover from the repair costs and will maybe help us do some upgrades."


LB Holdings's stores are family owned and operated, and the Odells are part of a long lineage of rural Colorado entrepreneurs. Odell's great grandfather came to Akron in 1910 and subsequently opened a hotel, called Odell Hotel, and a café in town. His grandparents owned a restaurant, and his father operated a shoe store after serving in World War II. Odell's mother ran a dress shop next to the shoe store. Each family business served the town of Akron.


After serving nearly four years in the U.S. Air Force, Odell returned to Akron to run the family shoe store, and shortly thereafter, bought his first grocery store with his wife, Betty in 1957. "All of our married life we've been grocers, Betty and I. Our kids grew up in the grocery store, and they're very knowledgeable too," said Odell who expressed pride in his family being "long-term grocer people."


Currently, Odell's daughter, Tammy administers the family's four stores and works with the company's accountant on a centralized accounting program. Odell's son, Tab is a certified refrigeration repairman and maintains most of the stores' equipment in addition to managing pricing, advertising, and merchandising.





Partner Spotlight:
Colorado Enterprise Fund



Ceyl Prinster

Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is a nonprofit lender dedicated to serving small businesses and entrepreneurs, and is a key partner of the CO4F. Founded in 1976, CEF has a long history of offering diverse financing options and sound business advice through its small business advisors. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF works consciously with the needs of Colorado's communities in mind, and was recently recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as Community/Rural Lender of the Year. 

CEF has been a CO4F partner since the fund's early stages, initially participating in a working group that explored ways to improve fresh food access in Colorado's food deserts. Trained on the subject of financing better local food systems, and as an original member of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council, CEF brought valuable perspective to the creation of the CO4F.

 "As a participant from the beginning, it has been wonderful to see an idea become a reality. The CO4F is an excellent resource for helping Colorado be a healthier place for all. We are so proud that CEF can play a role in that effort," said Ceyl Prinster, President and CEO of CEF.


To date, CEF has loaned $349,323 to CO4F projects. CEF believes that fresh grocery retail is an anchor for every community's health and economic outcomes. CEF has had positive experiences with all of its CO4F borrowers, and is proud of the impact they make in their communities. One such borrower is Fort Market, a small rural grocery store in Fort Garland, an unincorporated town in Costilla County. Fort Market was facing possible closure due to inventory and equipment problems, but was able to work with CEF to obtain CO4F financing. Had the store closed, many of the county's low-income residents would've had to travel up to 60 miles to access fresh food.


CEF also uses federal CDFI funds made available through the Healthy Food Finance Initiative (HFFI) to finance a broader range of businesses that affect the entire healthy food system. HFFI award funds have enabled CEF to provide financing to farmers, value-added producers, wholesalers/distributors, and other key players in the food system. CEF received an HFFI award in both 2012 and 2013, and used CO4F as its matching funding source in 2012.





Congress considers food-stamp cuts


By Michelle Ray,
Hunger Free Colorado


One hundred and twenty dollars per month can be a life preserver for many Coloradans like Linda. The 63-year-old resident of Englewood, Colo., struggled to put healthy food on the table for months. A nutritious diet was essential for Linda's health, but due to a fixed income and medical expenses, she could not afford the low-sugar foods needed to control her diabetes.

That is until she applied for food stamps, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Now, she can purchase needed foods like vegetables, fresh fruit and spices.

"It makes all the difference in the world if I can make it month-to-month without loans and with food I can eat," said Linda. "I still have to be smart about purchasing food, but I can make it now."

Currently, Congress continues to consider federal budget proposals that aim to cut $125 billion or more to food stamps over 10 years and potentially make drastic changes to the program's administration. If approved, the nearly 1 in 7 Coloradans who struggle with hunger - such as Linda - could be in a much worse situation, having to make difficult choices between purchasing healthy food and needed medication or rent. 

"No one should have to worry about when or where we will get our next meal," said Kathy Underhill, executive director for Hunger Free Colorado, the state's leading anti-hunger advocacy organization. "We all should have the opportunity for a better, brighter future. Yet, Congress is considering cuts that would harm hard-working families, children and seniors, and weaken our state and country."


To learn more about what's at stake visit HungerFreeColorado.org.  


Erica Heller, P.U.M.A.
303.628.5592, CO4F@pumaworldhq.com

Tim Dolan, CHFA
303.297.7318, tdolan@chfainfo.com







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